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A Crawford County man is scheduled to go before a judge today after he was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of four counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, according to Crawford County Circuit Court records.

John Edward Kelly, 50, of Rudy was booked into the Crawford County jail Wednesday after being arrested on a bench warrant to revoke his bond on separate sex charges for which he is awaiting trial.

Authorities wrote in an affidavit filed this week in Crawford County 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."

He talked about killing the family himself and later about taking them to Mexico and arranging "it so that they would never return," the affidavit stated.

Authorities said they recorded Kelly during phone calls, including a conversation in which they said he 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 schools at the time he ran it, according to previous reports.

It was not immediately known if he had an attorney to comment on the charges.

The petition to revoke filed Wednesday by Crawford County Prosecuting Attorney Marc McCune said the conspiracy to commit four counts of first-degree murder occurred between Nov. 2 and March 5.

McCune said in the petition the conspiracy to commit first-degree murder violated the $50,000 bond Kelly posted on Jan. 28, 2018, to get out of jail after being arrested on five counts of rape, five counts of first-degree sexual assault and 10 counts of second-degree sexual assault, court records showed.

Court records show Kelly is scheduled for a jury trial on the charges in Crawford County Circuit Court on April 9 before Circuit Judge Gary Cottrell. Kelly's attorney on the sex charges, Rex Chronister of Fort Smith, requested a delay in the trial Thursday.

Also Thursday, court records showed Cottrell recused from the case for an undisclosed conflict of interest and transferred the case to Circuit Judge Mike Medlock.

The rape charges accused Kelly of having sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with a person younger than 14, the criminal complaint said.

First-degree sexual assault, according to the criminal complaint, accused Kelly of having sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with a person less than 18 years old and "being an employee in the victim's school or school district, a temporary caretaker or a person in a position of trust or authority over the victim."

Second-degree sexual assault in the complaint accused Kelly as having sexual contact with a person younger than 14 who was not his spouse.

The complaint said the offenses occurred from Jan. 1, 2008, to Jan. 23, 2018.

Metro on 03/15/2019

Print Headline: Arkansas man accused of rape sought to have accuser, 3 relatives killed 'if things at trial were not going his way,' authorities say


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