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Charges dropped in SF County murder case

SANTA FE – The case against a Santa Fe County man accused of killing his adult daughter in 2015 has been dismissed by prosecutors, and the Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office isn’t giving an exact reason for dropping the charges.

A murder charge William Kelley in the stabbing death of his daughter has been dismissed. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

William Kelley, 67, was indicted for first-degree murder and tampering with evidence in May 2016 for allegedly killing Julieanne Kelley, 30.

William Kelley called 911 on Jan. 15, 2015, and reported that Julieanne was missing from the home they shared on Calle de Rita. The daughter was later found dead on the property with multiple stab and chop wounds. William Kelley was named a person of interest soon after the death but was not immediately charged.

Santa Fe District Attorney Marco Serna and the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office released a joint statement Friday.

“Assistant district attorneys spent hundreds of hours reviewing and preparing this case, along with getting multiple experts to testify, but the State and the Sheriff’s Office have reached the joint decision that the case cannot in good faith move forward to trial,” the statement said.

“It is unfortunate that this case cannot proceed, but after continued review of discovery, the charges against William Kelley have been dismissed without prejudice.” The “without prejudice” designation means charges can be refiled. The statement said the sheriff’s office is treating the case as an open investigation.

Several motions in the case were set to be heard in District Court earlier this week. Kelley’s attorney, Tony Scarborough, told the Journal on Friday that a prosecutor told him Wednesday, about 30 minutes before the scheduled hearing, that the charges would be dropped. “I have no idea why the case was dismissed,” Scarborough said, but he added that he believed the state wasn’t ready to argue the motions.

One of Scarborough’s motions asked Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer to suppress statements Kelley gave during a 14-hour interrogation the day Julieanne’s body was found. The motion says the detectives refused to let Kelley have a lawyer present and that he was not able to terminate the interview, thus violating several constitutional rights.

“Defendant repeatedly tried to cut off his interrogation and go home but his requests were ignored and rejected repeatedly by his interrogators,” Scarborough wrote.

Prosecutor Todd Bullion wrote in his response that Kelley’s Miranda rights were not violated, because they pertain only to defendants who are in police custody, and Kelley had not been formally charged at that time. Bullion also argued that Kelley went through with the interview because he wanted to convince deputies he was innocent. “He thought that he could avoid justice if he could persuade law enforcement that he did not commit the murder,” Bullion wrote.

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