Husband Of Woman Accused Of Holding Four Black Teens At Gunpoint Resigns, Couple Flees Town
The woman fled town with her husband after they started receiving death threats.
Update (August 22, 2019): A white Arkansas woman accused of holding four young Black men at gunpoint has fled town, just a few days after her husband resigned as the jail administrator.
According to KAIT, Jerri Kelly and her husband moved out of their Arkansas home after receiving death threats.
“Yes. We don’t need those kind of neighbors, because it starts problems. And we don’t want problems,” neighbor Dale Baldwin said.
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The four teens were going door-to-door to fundraise money for the Wynne High School's football team on August 7.
Kelly allegedly pulled a gun out on the teens after they approached her house. She made the young men lay on the ground with her gun drawn until police arrived.
She was arrested days later on August 12. Surprisingly, she was released on bond without having to take a mugshot due to a "medical condition" despite standard procedure, WMC reported.
Kelly was later charged with four counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a minor.
Her husband, Joe Kelly, resigned from his position four days after her arrest.
Kelly started to receive death threats stemming from his wife not being properly booked after her arrest, KAIT reported.
Cross County Sheriff David West said Kelly did nothing wrong and his department has remained truthful.
Fortunately for the football team, Wynne High School has received numerous donations since the incident.
You can donate to the Yellowjacket Foundation here.
Original: Four Black teenagers were held at gunpoint in Arkansas while trying to raise money for their school's football team on August 7.
In a statement to local news outlets on Monday, Wynne Police Chief Jackie Clark said 46-year old Jerri Kelly was arrested and charged on four counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a minor.
Two of the four teenagers were wearing jerseys from the school's team, and the boys were selling restaurant coupons to raise money for the football program. Students from the school do this every year to raise money for a variety of school activities and generally go door-to-door.
When the four students were walking up Kelly's driveway, she ran out of her door with her gun pointed at them. She forced all four boys to lie down on the concrete, spread their legs and keep their hands behind their back.
Although they tried to explain they were only there for the school fundraiser and even pointed out the two teens wearing the school's jersey as evidence, Kelly would not let them up and instead called the police.
When police arrived, they allowed the kids to stand up and explain the situation. They drove the teenagers home and then came back to arrest Kelly on Monday.
“As we focus on our children, no bond will ever be set too high to protect our children, but in the real world bonds are only set to guarantee appearances in court,” Clark said in a statement. "Sometimes as police officers or citizens we don’t always agree with bonds being set too high or low, but our goal is always to ensure justice is served in the end."
The case drew even more outrage when it was revealed that Kelly is the wife of Cross County Jail Administrator Joe Kelly. Citizens of Wynne were furious when Kelly was allowed to leave the prison without taking a mugshot.
In a later statement, Cross County Sheriff David West, Joe's boss, defended his office's conduct and revealed a "medical issue" prevented her from taking a mugshot.
“During that time she was as at the jail, a bondsman arrived and bonded her out, and they went back home,” West said. “I’m professional. My department is professional. There was no special treatment. She went through the steps just like any other person would.”
The situation was exacerbated even further when the jail released a mugshot of the wrong woman instead of Kelly. They are still refusing to release her real mugshot, something that is done for every other inmate.
When asked by reporters about how Kelly was treated, Clark deflected and turned the conversation back to the four teenagers, who said they were traumatized by the situation.
“As always, the Wynne Police Department is committed to protecting our citizens. Our kids and elderly are our most precious assets and all the necessary steps will be taken to protect them,” Clark said. “This is about those four kids, and our focus is completely on those kids."
The parents of the children, who declined to be named, were furious about the situation and feared for their sons' lives. The school is now considering whether to unilaterally end the practice of soliciting donations to school activities through door-to-door fundraisers.