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Paul Ebert’s Misplaced Priorities

By Greg L | 30 July 2007 | Prince William County | 15 Comments

While the Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office is happy to engage in plea bargaining with the illegal aliens who murdered C. J. Angelos, what does it do with a tragic case where a father loses track of a child who dies from heat exposure after being left in a car seat? He throws the book at them, according to the Manassas Journal-Messenger:

So what of Kevin Kelly? What did he deserve?

Would it influence your opinion to know that the day Frances died, May 29, 2002, the Manassas engineer was watching 12 children alone while his wife and oldest daughter were abroad visiting a cancer-stricken relative?

Does it matter that when he returned home that day, he’d asked two teenage children - both of baby-sitting age - to attend to their younger siblings while he went back to school for another daughter who was late getting out of an exam?

Or that during the next seven hours, he was accosted by an air conditioning repairman with news that he was going to have to spend several thousand dollars on a new unit? That he fixed lunch, did laundry, mended a gap in the fence that the little ones were using to escape the yard, drove to the store for parts to fix his air conditioner, took a son to soccer practice and fixed a leaking drain pipe in the basement?

Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul L. Ebert concluded that Kelly’s failure to ask after Frances for seven hours rose to the level of a crime. Kelly was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. The jury recommended a year in prison.

But Circuit Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. had what he thought was a more humane solution. He ordered Kelly to spend one day a year in jail for seven years and to hold an annual blood drive around the anniversary of his daughter’s death.

Kelly is still a convicted felon. He cannot vote, and his job was affected because he is barred from certain government properties.

But waiting in line recently at the All Saints Catholic Church to donate blood, he said he is happy for the chance to honor his daughter by helping to save lives.

“The judge was very, very merciful,” he said as his red-haired children scurried around giving snacks and stickers to donors. “And I’m very grateful for what he did in allowing me to stay with my family and support my family.”

This November voters will have a choice to return Paul Ebert as the Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney, or to write in Ham Sandwich.  I think Ham would have done a better job in these cases.

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  1. Loudoun Insider said on 30 Jul 2007 at 12:29 am:
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    Go Ham! Ebert needs to be retired.

  2. John Light said on 30 Jul 2007 at 9:20 am:
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    First off, let me comment that God was DEFINITELY looking over his man because he got Circuit Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. Judge Alston is known as one of the best - a VERY fair man and let me tell you, PWC is VERY fortunate to have Judge Alston.

    That being said, there are a number of issues here. First off, there is just no excuse for him leaving a child ALONE in a vehicle for 7 hours!!! He made a SERIOUS error of judgment on this. Every parent knows that when you are alone with multiple kids, you prioritize your time spent, meaning that if you have older kids mixed in with younger ones, you concentrate more on the younger vice the older, who tend to be more self-sufficient.

    Debate could take place about how correct it was to leave this guy home alone with 12 kids. Since he usually works, he more than likely does not have the multi-tasking skills his wife has with that number of children. I am sorry, but it is just VERY difficult to get over the 7 hours thing!!!

    Another issue is with the jury. It is CLEAR that this was a TRAGIC accident on the father’s part. If the jury and prosecution thought for a second there was intended malice, they would have gone for life in prison, but that was NOT the case here. The father made a SERIOUS error in judgment and more than likely just became VERY overwhelmed with all the things that seemed to be happening at once.

    Then Judge Alston steps in and saves the day. By using compassion and reason, he still punishes the father (I can promise you the father will NEVER make this mistake and now other’s may not either) yet in a way where the father will not have to spend time in jail with REAL scum.

    In THIS case, I think Paul Ebert was put in a bind. If he did NOTHING, then the newspapers would be writing a story with the headline, “Man leaves baby in sweltering van for 7 hours. Baby dies in the extreme heat and Paul Ebert does nothing.” I am not trying to say NOT to vote for Ham, but in THIS case MAYBE he deserves a pass.

  3. anon said on 30 Jul 2007 at 9:33 am:
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    This “father” also had no problem laying the blame at his son’s feet. What a great “man”.

  4. John Light said on 30 Jul 2007 at 9:48 am:
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    yes, I picked that up as well. Even if he only had 2 children, the sole responsibility lies with the parents or in this case, the father.

  5. Dan said on 30 Jul 2007 at 1:14 pm:
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    The point is, that while Kevin Kelly made a terrible mistake in not knowing where his little one was, assuming that some of the older kids were watching them as they usually would, he is targeted by the Commonwealth Attorney as if he were a menace to society, while illegal alien gangbangers who murder a 21-year old kid in cold blood are able to strike a plea bargain.

    There is something rotten in Denmark.

    Oh, and anon? You have no idea what you’re talking about. Kevin did not blame his kids for what happened. He was going to take the heat for the whole thing when his family and their legal representation agreed that he needed to give honest reasons for where his head was at while his beloved little Frances was trapped in the van. He really did assume that some of the older kids were watching the baby. He never “blamed” them for anything.

  6. Gurduloo said on 30 Jul 2007 at 1:44 pm:
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    Did Kelly even try to plea bargain?

    Are the gang bangers going to jail?

  7. Batson D. Belfrey said on 30 Jul 2007 at 2:22 pm:
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    A prosecutor’s job is to represent the State, (ie. the people) as vigorously as possible. I know in the Kelly case, the community was divided. There were just as many people screaming for his head, as there where calling for mercy, as this was clearly an accident. I believe that in the Kelly case, justice was indeed served, and at an appropriate punishment was applied. Punishment is the purview of the Court, not the prosecution. The prosecution charges a suspect with what they can prove. Obviously, in this case, they were able to prove that the child was the responsibility of the father, and the father was negligent in fulfilling the responsibility. Remember, there was a large part of the community that complained that Kelly got off too easy. Some of these people also said that the Kelly’s had no business having that many kids. That is how polarizing a case like this can be.

    In the case of pleas, the State will often offer a plea to a lesser charge, knowing that they would have little or no chance getting a conviction on the more severe charge. Remember, a judge or jury has a mind of its own. Also, the State will also offer a plea as an incentive to get the accused to cooperate. In the Angelos case, we don’t know what kind of case law enforcement was able to build against these first two. It may have been weak. They may be cooperating. We just don’t know.

  8. Dolph said on 30 Jul 2007 at 3:45 pm:
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    I expect Mr. Kelly and his family were ‘punished’ enough. The fact that you are responsible for the death of your child, whether the child dashes in front of a car, is mauled by the family dog, or is inadvertently left in the car has to be more than most people can bear.

    Personally, I think the entire case just points out why you should only have as many children as you can reasonably take care of. If I had 12 kids, I would have probably left half of them in the car. Therefore, I stuck to just 2 and often thought, ‘there for the grace of God go I,’ when reading about horrible things that happen to families.

    That little girl’s death was tragic and to use anything about that case to endorse or vilify a candidate just seems inappropriate to me.

    I prefer to look at the fact that Paul Ebert has more murderers on death row than any other prosecutor in the state of Virginia. Additionally he was ‘given’ the sniper case because of his reputation as a no-nonsense, effective prosecutor when trying violent criminals.

    I agree with John Light that Paul Ebert was put in a bind. Out of respect for the child, lets let this one just move on…..

  9. anonymous said on 30 Jul 2007 at 4:13 pm:
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    “Personally, I think the entire case just points out why you should only have as many children as you can reasonably take care of.”

    A visit to any store around here points out why you should only have as many children as you can reasonably take care of. In the case of some of these people, that number is zero.

  10. Dolph said on 30 Jul 2007 at 4:51 pm:
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    I totally agree with you, anonymous. Zero is a good number for many people.

  11. Lafayette said on 30 Jul 2007 at 11:05 pm:
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    Greg L’s on Channel 5 right NOW!!

  12. ddpdrinker said on 30 Jul 2007 at 11:16 pm:
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    I missed it what happened?

  13. anon said on 31 Jul 2007 at 12:09 am:
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    Kevin Kelly told the jury that he left his son in charge of little Frances.

    He laid the blame for Frances death on his son.

    How in the hell does a father not notice a missing baby for 7 hours - and even then has to be told by a neighbor.

    It’s not like the “man” wasn’t home at all during those 7 hours.

    Unfortunately, he had more children than his attention span was capable of caring for.

  14. Lyle said on 31 Jul 2007 at 9:05 pm:
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    Mr. Kelly’s daughter had been previously left at the video store and found in the street by police. He just didn’t have his attention on his daughter.

    That said, few parents haven’t had to swallow their heart and dash around a store of restaurant when their kids bolt while they sign a check. What we felt for those few minutes of frantic searching is nothing compared to what Mr. Kelly must feel almost every day.

    I think the verdict was fair and Judge Alston’s handling of the case is one of the reasons why I am also a Judge Alston fan.

  15. Mike Austin said on 3 Aug 2007 at 7:09 pm:
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    Rather than make this discussion about Mr. Kelly:

    We should focus on the issue that violent murder participants are being plea-bargained back into Prince William communities. This is in fact being done, and we should let Mr. Ebert know that we do not accept this as a viable outcome to these cases.

    Some of those who have been released via plea bargaining felony murder down to misdemeanor assault charges are known to be in this country illegally, and yet still have been able to negotiate agreements that allowed them to be returned to our streets.

    Mr. Ebert is famous for his toughness on some murderers. I think he has more “clients” on death row than most prosecutors in this country.

    However, something is wrong when an illegal alien, who has participated in gang activity that has resulted in the death by violent murder of one of our legal citizens can be awarded ultimate freedom.

    Mr. Ebert, we are watching!

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