Man accused of killing Greenville Co. deputy found guilty of murder, sentenced to life
Ray Kelly charged with murder, resisting arrest with assault, drug trafficking and more
GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Both the prosecution and defense have rested their cases in the trial against Ray Kelly after the defendant said he did not intend to take the stand.
The jury found Kelly guilty of murder and a judge sentenced him to life in prison.
When instructing the jurors before deliberations, the judge told them they should not hold anything against Kelly for his decision not to testify.
In closing arguments, 13th Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins showed the jury dash cam and body cam videos of the traffic stop on Oct. 20, 2020 and the scuffle with responding deputies. Wilkins said Kelly knew he had a gun and drugs in the car when he drove off to avoid arrest.
13th Circuit Public Defender Mindy Lipinski told the jury that Kelly’s arms were flailing in a panic as “two of the biggest deputies ever employed by the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office” handled him. Lipinski said Kelly is not the “monster” that prosecutors have made him out to be.
Kelly faced other charges including resisting arrest with assault, drug trafficking and other violations in connection with the Oct. 20, 2020 traffic stop and crash along Interstate 85 that ultimately led to the death of Sgt. Conley Jumper.
Testimony from Davis included a recording from inside a patrol car where Kelly sat after the crash. Davis said Kelly could be heard saying, “(expletive). They’re going to try me for killing a cop.”
The jury heard a recording from a cellphone found in the car that Kelly was driving. The recording revealed a woman’s voice giving driving directions and a man’s voice that mentioned “going state to state.”
The jury also saw a handwritten statement signed by Kelly stating that his co-defendant, Tornell Laureano, did not know the contents of the car.
Third Day of Testimonies
The third day of testimony shifted from the site of the interstate crash to inside the Nissan the defendant was driving.
The state’s first witness of the day was a sergeant with the South Carolina Highway Patrol who analyzed data collected from vehicles involved in the crash after the traffic stop. Investigators said Kelly tried to avoid arrest by driving back onto the interstate as Jumper held onto the car.
Earlier in the trial, the jury watched various angles of dash and body camera videos. The footage showed Kelly scuffling with deputies before driving the Nissan into the path of an 18-wheeler. Additional video showed how immediately after the semi collision, the Nissan rolled into the path of a patrol car responding to the scene.
The trooper testified that it is his opinion, based on the data he analyzed, that the patrol car hit the Nissan but not Jumper.
13th Circuit Public Defender Mindy Lipinski challenged the trooper’s findings by pointing out that data shows the patrol car was driving at a speed of 103 miles per hour and that the analysis did not include other data that would have been available.
The prosecution asked the trooper to clarify that he analyzed what the State Law Enforcement Division provided to him.
Additional testimony from SLED agents gave the jury a closer look at the items found in the car, which included a gun, bags of leafy greens, rolling papers, pieces of a rock-like substance found wrapped beneath layers of bags and a wad of cash totaling around $3,000.
A digital analysis expert with SLED testified that a text message found on a cellphone in the Nissan revealed a plan to purchase marijuana in Atlanta.
Lipinski argued that the phone was primarily used by Kelly’s co-defendant, Tornell Laureano, who now faces charges of drug trafficking, marijuana possession and possession of a weapon during a violent crime in connection with this case.
A drug analyst from SLED said tests on a rock-like substances found in baggies revealed them to be 55.3 grams of crack cocaine.
After the verdict on Thursday, Wilkins made a few comments about the Sgt. Jumper.
“He was such a well-loved individual a fantastic law-enforcement officer and his wife said he would give his life for his team and unfortunately he did in this case.”
There is also a co-defendant in the case who the solicitor says seemed to be Kelly’s girlfriend Tornell Laureano. Laureano was in the car when this happened and faces charges of drug possession, drug trafficking and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
Her court date has not been scheduled at this time.
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