Helena parents pleaded guilty to aggravated child abuse

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SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Helena parents charged with aggravated child abuse, a Class B felony entered a guilty plea in Shelby County Court Tuesday morning.

Court records also showed Richard and Cynthia Kelly pleaded guilty to child abuse, a Class C felony.

The Kellys pleaded guilty to locking their adopted 14-year-old son in a basement and depriving him of food.

According to court documents, the couple is rejecting the state’s recommendation that the court impose the maximum statutory sentence.

The Kellys also made an applied for probation.

The couple was arrested in November 2016 after the child was admitted to hospital.

Helena Police reported the child weighed 55 pounds and was kept in isolation for an extended period of time. Investigators also said the child was suffering from shock and hypothermia.

Helena Police Chief Pete Folmar told CBS 42 in November 2016 this was one of the worst cases of neglect he had seen.

“I don’t know that ‘angry’ is exactly the word. Upset, frustrated, and mostly I just feel sorry for this young man,” Chief Folmer said during an interview.

The case drew attention from Helena’s Mayor who called the parent’s actions “sickening” and “intolerable” on Twitter.

Richard and Cynthia Kelly’s bond was initially set at $1,000,000.

In May 2017, Richard requested to have his bond lowered.

A judge reduced his and Cynthia’s bond to $100,000 in July 2017.

The Kellys plea avoided their criminal trial. The couple will remain free on bond until their sentencing hearing scheduled for February 24.


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