September 15, 2014
Kalamazoo - Attorney General Bill Schuette and Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting today announced that the Attorney General's Criminal Division has charged Calvin Ray Kelly (a.k.a. Larry Calvin Jackson), 57, of Memphis, Tennessee with multiple felonies for his alleged sexual assault of a Southwest Michigan victim in a 2008 Kalamazoo cold case. Schuette has also requested Kelly be sentenced as a Habitual Offender under the Violent Offender Fourth Offense (VO-4) habitual offender law first proposed by Schuette.
The charges follow an extensive investigation by Schuette's Attorney General Cold Case Sexual Assault Project (AGCSA) team with assistance from the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's Office, and the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS).
"Solving cold cases requires a combination of dedication, resources, and cooperation across jurisdictions," said Schuette. "Our aggressive, victim-centered, offender-focused approach has brought us one step closer to securing justice for survivors of sexual assault and their loved ones."
The case against Kelly will be prosecuted jointly by the Department of Attorney General and the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's Office.
"I would like to thank the Attorney General's office for their efforts in bringing these charges. I am looking forward to working with Attorney General Schuette in the prosecution of this case," said Jeff Getting, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor. "Like the Office of the Attorney General, the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's Office has zero tolerance for those who prey on our citizens. My office will be there every step of the way working with Attorney General Schuette to see that justice is done."
Cold Case Sexual Assault Project and Role in Investigation
In 2012, Schuette's office created the Attorney General Cold Case Sexual Assault Project (AGCCSA) funded by a United States Department of Justice grant to combat violence against women. AGCCSA is ongoing, comprised of a full-time Assistant Attorney General and a Special Agent Investigator from Schuette's office as well as representatives from the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division (MSP-FSD), the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, and the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board.
"My hope is that this can offer the victims of these crimes the opportunity for justice and healing--and to know that they were not forgotten," said Debi Cain, Executive Director of the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board. "The work of Attorney General Schuette's cold case team has been outstanding and an extraordinary example of how to do work like this in a victim-centered way."
After an initial investigation by KDPS, it was determined that on April 8, 2008, a Kalamazoo victim ran across U.S. 131 to flag-down a Kalamazoo police officer. The victim reported to the officer that an unknown assailant had repeatedly raped her at knifepoint. Kalamazoo Police then sent the victim's post-examination Sexual Assault Kit to MSP-FSD for forensic analysis. The unknown Kalamazoo suspect's DNA profile was entered into a national DNA database.
In 2012, the AGCCSA investigation allegedly linked Kelly to the Kalamazoo incident. Schuette's office consulted with Kalamazoo Prosecutor's office and Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) to take the lead on the investigation into the 2008 sexual assault unsolved cold case.
"I am pleased the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety could coordinate with the Kalamazoo Prosecutor's office and Attorney General Schuette to protect the public and help victims and families traumatized by sexual assault," said Jeff Hadley, Chief of Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. "Without this state and local collaboration, another unsolved case would've slipped through the cracks."
Extradition and Criminal Charges Against Kelly
On September 3, 2014, Schuette filed the following charges against Calvin Ray Kelly in Kalamazoo's 8th District Court:
One count of Kidnapping, a felony punishable by up to life in prison and/or a $50,000 fine; and,
Three counts of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, a felony punishable by up to life in prison; and,
One count of Attempt- First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, a 10-year felony.
If convicted of any sexual assault counts, Kelly must also register as a sex offender for life in Michigan.
On September 9, 2014, authorities from the Shelby County Sheriff's Department Fugitive Team in Tennessee arrested Kelly in Tennessee.
On September 10, 2014, Kelly waived formal extradition and will be transported back to Michigan to face criminal charges. Kelly is currently being housed in Tennessee's Shelby County Jail.
"I'm grateful for the laser-like focus and hard work of our Criminal Division Cold Case Sexual Assault Project team as well as the cooperation and efforts of the Kalamazoo Prosecutor's office and Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety to put the pieces of this case together. I also appreciate the work of the Shelby County Sherriff's Department Fugitive Team in Tennessee that assisted in apprehending Kelly," said Schuette.
Schuette's Public Safety Law, VO-4, Stronger Sentences for Repeat Violent Criminal Offenders
Schuette has also requested Kelly be sentenced as a Habitual Offender under Violent Offense-Fourth Felony (VO-4). The VO-4 habitual offender law allows prosecutors to require a minimum 25-year sentence for certain repeat offenders who have committed four felonies while progressing to more violent crimes.
"VO-4 helps ensure safer communities by giving prosecutors a tool to remove the worst of the worst - violent, repeat offenders - from our streets," said Schuette. "The worst repeat felons belong behind bars where they cannot prey on any additional victims. We will never have a full economic recovery until we have safety in our streets, neighborhoods, and schools."
In June 2012, Senate Bill 1109 was introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) to implement the VO-4 (Violent Offense-Fourth Felony) sentencing reform by strengthening Michigan's Habitualization Law (MCL 769.12). In October 2012, Governor Snyder signed VO-4 into law. SB 1109 is now Public Act 319 of 2012.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.