The husband of an Arkansas white woman who held four Black teenagers at gunpoint has resigned due to death threats.
On August 12, Jerri Kelly was arrested after pulling a gun on Wynne High School teens, ages 15 and 16, while they were selling discount cards for their football team.
Her husband Joe Kelly, who was the jail administrator, resigned just four days after his wife’s arrest. The controversy, including death threats, stemmed from Kelly not being properly booked upon arrest. Standard procedure requires each suspect to take a mugshot, but Kelly never took one and was quickly bonded out due to an unknown “medical condition.”
Kelly was booked at the same county jail where her husband worked.
David West, the Cross County Sheriff, said Joe was accused of “favoritism” for refusing to take his wife’s mugshot. She returned to the jail later that week for the mugshot.
Deputy prosecuting attorney Vincent Guest explained why her $500 bond was reduced, "Mrs. Kelly's bond was reduced because of a concern that the Cross County Jail would be unable to attend to Mrs. Kelly's medical conditions should be incarcerated.”
After his resignation, moving boxes were spotted in the couple’s former driveway on Morningside Drive. No one answered when reporters knocked for comment.
KAIT reports their neighbors are glad to see the embattled couple gone.
“We don't need those kind of neighbors, because it starts problems. And we don't want problems,” said their now ex-neighbor Dale Baldwin.
The 46-year-old called police on August 7 to report “suspicious persons.” Upon arrival, cops told Kelly he recognized the teens, two of which were wearing school jerseys, from the local high school, and that they were innocently fundraising.
She pulled her gun out and ordered the teens to the ground with their arms behind their back, where they laid until police arrived.
A grandparent of one of the teenagers told FOX13 she is trying to find him a therapist after the incident. "She put a gun right at my head and he said, ‘I made peace with God and that if I die I make it to heaven,’” said the grandmother.
One neighbor told KAIT that the Wynne High School has received overwhelming amounts of donations after the incident. However, the Wynne School District superintendent says he may stop door-to-door fundraising from student athletes.
Kelly is facing four charges of false imprisonment, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a minor. She will appear in the Cross County Circuit Court court on September 30.
Photo: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images