The Lapses Behind a Killer's Rampage

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, September 13, 2008

A sentence of four consecutive life terms in prison ensures that Anthony Kelly will die in jail. He deserves nothing less.

On Aug. 6, 2002, Kelly pistol-whipped and then fatally shot 9-year-old Erika Smith in Silver Spring. Next, he fired eight shots into the body of her father, Greg Russell, killing him, too.

In March that year, Kelly pistol-whipped and raped a 60-year-old grandmother in Silver Spring. Weeks later, he raped a 20-year-old woman at knifepoint in Wheaton.

Kelly has also been accused of committing another murder.

Circuit Court Judge Durke G. Thompson was right to send Kelly to a place where he will never breathe freedom again.

You may have read about this case in The Post on Tuesday. What you may not know, since the story focused on the Montgomery County courtroom drama, was that Anthony Kelly should not have been on the streets in the first place.

He was allowed to embark on a six-month rampage of rape, assault and murder because the U.S. Parole Commission, a halfway house in the District of Columbia called Hope Village, and the federal Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA), which oversees inmates on probation and parole, failed miserably at their jobs.

I've written before about Anthony Kelly. [" Justice for a Murdered Father and Daughter? How Government Failures Led to a Parolee's Rampage," Aug. 19, 2006; " Who Let a Killer Into Erika Smith's World?" Sept. 2, 2006; " Who's the Incompetent One Here?" Sept. 30, 2006]. The federal role in his rampage is worth another look.

In 2001, Kelly, a master manipulator with 12 felony convictions and 34 second-degree burglary convictions under his belt, ran a game on the U.S. Parole Commission by talking his way out of detention five years before his sentence was complete.

Having fallen for Kelly's fraudulent representations, the government released him to Hope Village, a federally sponsored halfway house in the District. While there, Kelly violated numerous conditions of his placement -- infractions that should have prompted his return to prison.

Instead of Kelly getting another spell behind bars, Hope Village released him into the D.C. community on March 7, 2002, placing him under CSOSA's supervision.

In the six months that followed, Kelly went about raping, killing, assaulting and stealing until he was captured on Sept. 5, 2002.

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