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story.lead_photo.caption John Kelly

A western Arkansas photographer is accused of plotting to kill his child rape accuser and her family by trying to hire a hitman or sending them to Mexico so that “they never return,” authorities said.

John Edward Kelly, 50, of Rudy was arrested Wednesday following a monthslong law enforcement investigation into the photographer. He is charged with four counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, according to an affidavit filed this week in Crawford County.

Kelly was previously arrested on multiple sexual assault charges of a child last January and has been out on a $50,000 bond ahead of a circuit court trial.

Authorities allege that Kelly gave money, a motorcycle and promised a Ford Mustang to a person for killing his accuser and three of her family members “if things at trial were not going his way,” the affidavit said.

He reportedly talked about killing the family himself and later about bringing them to Mexico and arranging “it so that they would never return,” the affidavit states.

Authorities said they recorded Kelly during phone calls, including a conversation in which he allegedly arranged for two men to drive to Arkansas and kill four people while he was eating in public.

Kelly is the former owner of a Van Buren photography business that had contracts with dozens of local schools at the time he ran it, according to previous reports.

Jail records show Kelly was booked into the Crawford County jail early Wednesday morning and remained there Thursday afternoon with bond not yet set.

It wasn’t immediately known if he had an attorney to comment on the charges.


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  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    March 14, 2019 at 3:33 p.m.

    So this is life without the poss. of parole situ.
    maybe bump it Federal for the Capitol offenses?

  • OzarkJim
    March 14, 2019 at 4:39 p.m.

    John Edward Kelly looks like the poster boy for a pedophile. Claiming to be photographer, most likely porn. I am sure his relatives and friends would say old John is a good old boy that went a stray. It will be interesting to see what the cops find out about his past history over the past 30 years. His "Stank" will spread far and wide. Anybody that had business dealings with John will need to get a lawyer.

  • mrcharles
    March 14, 2019 at 5:22 p.m.

    Let me count the ways of the things that could be said about this guy of what he is and what he ain't.

    One thing for sure many of the crickets who usually chirp when the occasion suits them, become silent when the description of this guy is considered.

    Of course a creep is a creep, a thug is a thug, but use of the English language blossoms as to comments about some human beings.

    If guilty, perhaps he will enjoy his state provided 3 meals a day but the reindeer games may be not of his liking.

  • obbie
    March 14, 2019 at 6:37 p.m.

    The guys in the barracks will have real surprises for this dude after he arrives. After he receives a fair trial, of course.

  • MaxCady
    March 14, 2019 at 11:28 p.m.

    He won't have an easy time in the penitentiary.