June 17, 2013

“I don’t know if Bob Kelly and the staff of that now-infamous Edenton day care center abused those children… But I do know, beyond any reasonable doubt, that something is dreadfully wrong in that case, and I applaud the (N.C.) Court of Appeals ruling that ordered a new trial for Kelly and Kathryn Dawn Wilson. Everyone who cares about justice should join in a standing ovation for the court’s common-sense ruling.

“Fat chance of that.

“The prosecution, led by Attorney General Mike Easley, has already begun its campaign to discredit the ruling as a nitpicking exercise that found minor technicalities in the state’s longest and most expensive trial….”

– From “Justice unlikely for Kelly” by News & Observer columnist Dennis Rogers (May 9, 1995)

Easley said he would petition the N.C. Supreme Court to review the cases immediately: “The decision casts no doubt on the credibility of the children or the integrity of the investigation…. In both cases, the facts supporting the convictions were clear and overwhelming. (The appeals court) disregarded these facts and misapplied the law.”

The Wilson Daily Times opined that “Easley’s vow to appeal the overturning is futile, and he knows it. … Easley tried to play tough prosecutor… implying the convictions were thrown out because of technical indiscretions. But he well knows that the errors in the trials were substantial and egregious (and) made a mockery of justice.”

 Four months later, when the N.C. Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeals, Easley had lost his bravado. “All prosecutors know that cases involving children weaken with age,” he said. “A retrial in this matter will be extremely difficult.”