An Innocent Man on Texas Death Row

Background: On April 30, 1984 in Longview Texas, Jerry and Brenda Morgan and their 18-month-old son, Devin, were murdered in their home. Jerry is shot 4 times, Brenda is shot once and Devin is shot twice. The motive for the murders was never determined. Though police and the DA's office apparently tried to link the killings to drug activities during the trials, the Morgans were, by all accounts, law-abiding, decent, hard-working average people with no connections to criminal activity. Nothing of any value was stolen from the house. The only missing items appear to be handguns and rifles from a gun case, some small electronics and housewares and a heart-shaped necklace of Brenda Morgan's. The Morgan's car was taken and found the next morning thirty miles away in Tyler, Texas. No murder weapon was found and no suspect fingerprints were found at the scene or in the car. The minimal forensic evidence recovered from the scene consisted of African-American hairs found on a towel under Brenda Morgan's head, assorted African-American hairs from vacuumings and some latent fingerprints (none of which could be connected to the suspects, including Wilson and Alvin and Cynthia Kelly). Unfortunately, DNA technology in the 1980's was relatively new and unsophisticated and no comparative testing or data bank comparison was done on the African American hairs from the scene. However, with the passage of the new DNA testing law in Texas, the test could be done now. No motive meant there were no readily identifiable suspects and the investigation into the murders quickly went cold.

In the winter of 1985, Roy Bean, a property crimes detective with the Longview Police Department arrested Cynthia Mae Kelly and her husband, Alvin Kelly, for outstanding warrants. Since the investigation into the Morgan murders was still active, all police personnel were asked to pursue information about the case with all suspects. Cynthia apparently volunteered information about her involvement in the murder of the Kellys' roommate, John Ford. During this interview with Bean, Cynthia also said she had information about the Morgan murders.

He turned this information over to the two Longview homicide detectives in charge of the Morgan investigation. Neither homicide detective talked to or interviewed Cynthia after receiving the arresting Bean's information. Cynthia continued to contact Bean at his office while she was in jail for outstanding warrants, asking if she could get an offer of immunity in the Ford case for information she claimed to have in the Morgan case. However , Bean did not have the authority to promise her immunity. These contacts continued and at no time did she mention Ronnie Lee Wilson. Bean also spoke with the first assistant district attorney shortly after Cynthia's arrest and told the ADA about Cynthia's knowledge of the Morgan murders, which also implicated Alvin. Though Bean said he does not know whether the ADA made a deal with Cynthia, he notes that shortly after he gave the information to the ADA, Cynthia was released from jail and went to stay with relatives in Michigan. Bean continued to receive calls from Cynthia and her boyfriend about the immunity issue. The conversations occurred through 1986. All interviews and calls were taped per Longview Police Department Criminal Investigation Division policy. Nothing of note occurred in the Morgan murder investigation until six years later, 1990, when Cynthia suddenly came forward under questionable circumstances to give a statement about her "knowledge” of the crime. Subsequently, her husband Alvin and Wilson were charged with the Morgan murders. Though Bean garnered extensive information about the case from his conversations with Cynthia, he was never called to testify in either trial or contacted by the police or DA's office about the information he had. Worse yet, the prosecution suppressed this critical information and neither Wilson nor his defense attorney saw it until 1998.

Sequence of important events and conflicts:

April 30, 1984: Jerry, Brenda and Devin Morgan are murdered between 6 and 9 p.m. according to the pathologist's report. This is based on the fact that Jerry and Brenda are in their work clothes and no dinner is being or has been prepared. The Morgan's neighbor tells police she saw an African-American male drive away from the Morgan home in the Morgan's car between 7:30 and 8 p.m. (it was Daylight Saving time and light out). This lead was never followed up on. In Tyler, Texas, thirty miles from Longview, a Silverado pickup is reported stolen from Saunders Street.
May 1, 1984: Morning: the Morgan's car is found thirty miles away in Tyler, Texas. One block from the recovery site is the location from which Boswell's Silverado was stolen.
May 7, 1984: The stolen Silverado is recovered in Grand Prairie, Texas in the possession of two African American males.
May 11, 1984: Evidence taken from the truck includes: three towels, one hair, one vegetation sample and one woman's necklace, a gold chain with a flying heart on it.
May 14, 1984: Because of the coincidence of the Silverado theft just blocks from the Morgan car recovery site, an investigator shows the necklace from the stolen vehicle to Brenda Morgan's relatives, possibly believing it might have been Brenda's. Brenda's sister and father identified the necklace as Brenda's. Brenda's mother, her other sister and Jerry Morgan's mother could not positively identify the necklace.
May 15, 1984: Brenda's mother remembers that her daughter did have a necklace like the one she was shown the day before. The sister who identified the necklace as Brenda's shows the investigator a necklace she owned that was identical to the one Brenda had. The floating heart necklace does not appear in photos taken of the jewellery Brenda Morgan was wearing at the time of her autopsy (May 3, 1984). According to an affidavit from Brenda's sister, police only had possession of Brenda Morgan's rings. Brenda's necklace has not been found.
May 16, 1984: The evidence is taken to the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences. The items have not yet undergone DNA testing for comparison to national data banks of known offenders, hairs found at the scene, or to Brenda Morgan to verify whether or not the necklace was hers, though they have been recently submitted for testing in Kelly's case and are waiting the results now.
Pre-trial background, 1990-92: Cynthia reappears and divulges the information she allegedly has on the case. Subsequently, Wilson and Alvin are charged with the murders. Cynthia is the prosecution's only witness. Her testimony will be the foundation of the prosecution's case. Supporting testimony (also suspect) will come from one of Alvin's brothers. There is no supporting forensic evidence or anything to link Alvin or Wilson to the crime. Cynthia still has not been charged in any way with the John Ford murder for which Alvin has received a thirty-year sentence. In 1990, prior to Cynthia's return to Texas, prosecutors visit her in Michigan to discuss her participation in the trials of Alvin and Wilson. She is brought back to Texas and gives a second statement, under close supervision of prosecutors, that includes many obvious discrepancies and untruths. During the Alvin Kelly trial, Cynthia was sequestered in a state apartment, with her sister, under close scrutiny of the state and was taking Demerol for her drug addiction (two prescriptions are filled in one week). There are serious questions about the degree to which Cynthia was a "voluntary" (and coherent) witness in the case.

Cynthia Kelly -Immunity/prosecution issues:
John Ford murder: One of Alvin's brothers signs an affidavit in 1998 that he overheard Cynthia tell his mother and his wife, that she killed John Ford. The brother relayed this information to prosecutors prior to Alvin's trial for the Morgan murders. They "seemed not to want to hear this information " .

Morgan murders:
In an affidavit, Cynthia's sister relates a conversation she had with prosecutors about Cynthia's involvement as a witness in the case. She asked whether or not Cynthia might be prosecuted or go to jail for her involvement in the crime. Prosecutors assured her Cynthia would not. In a later conversation with an investigator for the defense, again the sister says that prosecutors told her not to worry, because, even though they were not giving Cynthia immunity, they were not going to prosecute her. Cynthia confirmed this information in a conversation with her sister after Cynthia returned from giving her deposition in Texas.

Statement and Trial evidence:
September 1990: Cynthia gives a second statement about the Morgan murders to prosecutors which conflicts with her 1985 statement. The information in the statement is used at Alvin's trial and he is convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 1991.The same statement is used in Wilson's trial to implicate him in the crime; he is sentenced to 66 years on April 14, 1992. This second statement from Cynthia, and subsequent testimony, is rife with inconsistencies, irregularities and obvious untruths -the bulk of them concerning Wilson's involvement. Problems include:
Her original statement given in 1985 did not match her deposition taken in 1990 and her deposition did not match her trial testimony at Kelly's trial in 1991. When asked about her statement at Kelly's trial she said she lied, but was allowed to carry on with testimony.

Lack of solid motive:
The prosecution wove a tenuous story about the murders being drug related. But, the Morgans were, by all accounts, law-abiding, decent, hard-working average people with no connections to drugs or other criminal activity. There is no logical reason to believe the family was killed as the result of drug activity.

Purported visit to the Morgan home:
In Cynthia Kelly's version of events (deposition hearing 1991) on the day of the murders, she, Alvin and Wilson stopped by the Morgan trailer between the hours or 3-4 p.m. Cynthia claims to have seen three cars in the driveway and people moving around inside the trailer. Cynthia claims that Wilson went up to the door, knocked and spoke calmly to a man (who she thought was Jerry Morgan) for a few moments. It is interesting to note that this placid approach to the trailer came only days after Steve Kelly claims to have witnessed the pistol whipping of Jerry Morgan by Alvin Kelly. However, according to testimony from Jerry Morgan's mother, her son and his wife were at work during those hours; she was babysitting Devin and Jerry picked the baby up sometime between 5:30, when he left work, and 5:45. Brenda got off work at 6 p.m. and stopped by a store before going home. The work hours of Jerry and Brenda were verified by investigators through records at the Morgans' employers.

Conflicts in account of post-murder activities:
Cynthia gives two versions of what happened after the murders. In one version (statement of Sept. 1990), she says that after the murders, Alvin told her to go to the truck and follow him and Wilson, who were in the Morgan car. The three drove to a wrecking yard outside longview and Alvin told Cynthia to go home. She claims she didn't see either Alvin or Wilson until the following morning (May 1) when the two men pulled into the Kelly yard with the Morgan car on a wrecker. The statement was used to indict Wilson in 1990 but was never allowed into court for the trial. In the second version (deposition hearing 11 months later, 1991), Cynthia is questioned under oath and now, rather than driving to the wrecking yard, she claims that the three drove to Tyler, Texas where they abandoned the Morgan car a block behind Mother Francis Hospital after wiping it clean of fingerprints. The three then drove to the home of Alvin's brother in Tyler. Cynthia said while she and Wilson waited in the truck, Alvin went inside and had a long conversation with his brother. Cynthia, Alvin and Wilson then supposedly drove to Waco and spent the entire day there. The second version has obviously been tailored to fit the evidence since Cynthia's initial version does not account for how the car got to Tyler. The tailored version also conveniently and smoothly brings Alvin's brother into the equation, thereby adding credence to his subsequent testimony about his knowledge of the crime and Alvin's involvement. Alvin and his brother have had an ongoing war between them most of their lives.

The mystery wrecker/tow truck:
It is also interesting to note the deletion of the wrecker/tow truck in Cynthia's second accounting of the post-murder activities. According to Cynthia, Alvin and, allegedly Wilson, were dropped at a wrecking yard after the murders and returned to the Kelly home the next morning (May 1) with the Morgan car on a wrecker. The tow truck aspect is particularly important because it directly conflicts with information in Cynthia's second statement and testimony. Had the prosecution revealed the information during the trial, Kelly's defense attorney could have tried to verify or disprove the story about the wrecker. But, this important lead could not be pursued.

Time frame inconsistencies:
Cynthia also testified that Wilson was in her presence from the morning of April 30 to noon on May 2. There are several problems with her story: First, Cynthia testifies that she, Alvin and Wilson arrived at the Morgan home at 9 p.m. But autopsy reports indicate that the victims had no food in their stomachs which strongly indicates they were killed before eating dinner that night. In addition, one of Brenda's sisters called the house sometime between 7 :30 and 8 p.m. and became concerned when she got no answer. There was also testimony from three witnesses at Wilson's trial that he was at the Good Shepherd Hospital in Longview between the hours of 2-5 p.m. on April 30 (when he is supposed to be in Rusk, Texas with the Kellys). They remembered the date well because it was the day their child had been born and they remembered Wilson visiting with his mother and his stepfather. There was also testimony from more than one person that Wilson was at his parents' home the evening and night of April 30. Yet another critical and indisputable fact thoroughly impeaches Cynthia Kelly's version of events. Cynthia claims that Wilson was in her presence from April 30 to May 2. However, on May 2 when Wilson was allegedly in Waco and Rusk with the Kellys, he received a speeding citation from the Longview Police Dept. at 2:42 p.m. (verified by an NCIC inquiry on Wilson at that time) .

False testimony about Wilson's vehicle:
At the time of the murders, Wilson drove a 1981 black and silver Chevy truck, which is verified by GMAC finance records. He was in this truck when he received his traffic citation on May 1 .However, Cynthia testified that the only vehicle she had ever seen Wilson drive was an "old, little white car" which she claims he was driving to and from the Kelly house in the April 30-May 2 time frame. This story about a white car was never pursued and the information never verified. But, the simple fact that Wilson was driving his actual vehicle, the truck, when cited for speeding again disproves Cynthia's story.

Perjury concerning official contact prior to trial:
During the trial, Cynthia perjured herself again by denying that she had ever spoken with other law enforcement officials prior to her contact with the DA's office. In 1998, Cynthia's 1985 interview/statement and numerous conversations with a Longview Police Dept. detective finally surfaced. The information came directly from the arresting detective who signed an affidavit about his interviews with Cynthia. The interviews and conversations were taped and held by the Longview Police Dept. and should have been readily accessible by the DA's office at the time of the trials.

Perjured supporting testimony:
During Alvin Kelly's trial, his brother Steve Kelly testified that the Friday prior to the Morgan murders, he went with Wilson and Alvin to a brick home in Longview, and that he was told to stand by the car. Steve said that he heard voices, went to the back yard and saw his brother kicking and pistol whipping a man he later identified as Jerry Morgan. This beating went on for seven to ten minutes. Despite this alleged kicking and pistol whipping, the coroner confirmed that there were no bruises on Jerry. In addition, when Jerry attended a Morgan family event at his mother's house the Sunday prior to the murders, had no injuries. Steve testified that after this incident, he, Alvin and Wilson returned to Alvin's home in Rusk. According to Steve, there was a lamp on in the living room, about two to four days before the killings. However, testimony at Alvin's trial established that the electricity to the house in Rusk had been terminated in April 4, 1984 until January of 1985. Steve said, on April 4, 1984, while on drugs, said he took Alvin's clothes and a piano and burned them outside the house at Rusk. Two neighbors testified that, after the fire, it did not appear that anyone lived in this house. This was the house in which Cynthia claimed she spent the night after the Morgan murders three and one-half weeks later. Steve also testified that a few days later, Alvin, Wilson and Cynthia appeared at his house in the early morning hours. Contrary to the Cynthia's testimony, Steve said there was no question that all three came into his house and his (Steve's) wife was present. At Alvin's trial, Steve admitted untruths in the statement he gave to police. Following the Alvin Kelly trial, Steve Kelly has subsequently stated on multiple occasions, "I turned state's evidence against my brother for a crime he didn't do."

Suppression of prior interviews and tapes:
The critical evidence of the tapes and records of prior contact with a law enforcement official was suppressed by the DA's office during the trial. Wilson's defense attorney apparently found out about the statement and tried to obtain a copy. He was told it could not be found. The evidence would certainly not help the prosecution since the inconsistencies cast reasonable doubt on the veracity of their "star eyewitness". Furthermore, Cynthia's first statement in 1985 was almost identical to her second with the exception of those sections obviously changed to more closely fit the evidence in the case. In view of that fact, Wilson and his attorney (as well as Alvin's) should have been provided with the tapes and any other materials dealing with her testimony under the Rules of Evidence.

False assertion that no deal was made with prosecutor:
Despite her self-confessed involvement in the Ford murder 17 days after the Morgan murders and her subsequent implication of herself in the Morgan murders, Cynthia is a free woman who seemingly need not fear prosecution for her involvement in these heinous crimes. During the trial, Cynthia said she had not made a deal with the DA's office in exchange for her testimony. Though it may be technically true that no formal deal was made, no immunity officially offered, there is clear evidence that a tacit agreement not to pursue prosecution for her involvement in the cases existed. Though she confesses her part in the Ford murder in 1985, and, according to affidavits about conversations with her about the murder, may well have been the one who actually pulled the trigger, she is free. She possesses intimate and critical knowledge about the Morgan murders, which led to the convictions of her husband and Wilson, yet she has never been charged for her involvement. This oddity can only be explained by the fact that there was indeed a deal, tacit as it may be. In order to solve the crime, prosecutors and law enforcement officials needed her information and testimony and two other people to place inside the home to make their version of the events appear credible.

Prosecutorial pressure and/or coercion:
Since the trial, numerous witnesses have come forward with sworn evidence that indicates that Cynthia admitted to them that she lied under oath because she was frightened. Her fear stemmed from threats by the prosecution to charge her with the Ford murder if she did not cooperate in the Alvin Kelly and Ronnie Lee Wilson trials. Alvin's sister and brother-in-law say Cynthia told them that officials threatened to kill her and her child if she did not cooperate. During this meeting with Cynthia in 1998, Cynthia also expressed fear for the her in-Iaw's welfare if they began "asking too many questions". Cynthia has a history of drug and alcohol abuse and involvement in crime. At the time, she had implicated herself in the Ford murder. Threats of prosecution and eventual imprisonment would be very real to her and effective tools against someone who would probably have a strong sense of self-preservation. And, with no statute of limitation on the crime of murder, the lack of an immunity agreement or formal deal assures initial and continuing cooperation. One of Alvin's brothers signed an affidavit in 1998 saying that he was approached by prosecutors who said they would get rid of pending criminal charges against him if he would give them information leading to Alvin's conviction. He told them he knew nothing and served his time. Though he had evidence about Alvin's innocence, prosecutors were not interested in that. Another brother told people he was coerced into giving untruthful testimony to convict Alvin.

Witnesses/coercion:
Before Kelly's trial he was contacted by Jonny Waller who informed Kelly that he knew he did not kill the Morgans' because he was with him the night this crime took place. They had just changed out engines in Kellys truck. Kelly tells Waller to go to his attorney and tell him this and come to trial and testify. At daylight the next morning Gregg Co. sheriff Dept. raids the Waller home and finds marijuana and drug paraphernalia. So Waller who is on parole from TDCJ already is told if he comes to Kelly's trial he will be sent back to prison. Waller has not been heard from since. Kelly has asked every court appointed attorney to find and talk to Waller but none have done so yet. Kelly has a court appointed attorney for his Federal Habeas and Scott is a good attorney. However he has other cases and is limited to the time and investigation he can spend on Kelly's case as bell as having limited money for investigators. Jelly needs help in finding his alibi witness and talking to other witnesses who were not allowed to testify at the trial. Kelly is an indigent inmate and cannot afford to pay investigative fees to hire an investigator. He needs your help in finding and securing an investigator. To help contact Kelly at:

Alvin Kelly, #999012
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM350 South
Livingston
Texas
77351
USA

Alternatively you can send an email

Contributions to Alvin's legal defense fund can be made to

Legal Defense Fund
State Bank
P O Box 10
Schulenburg, TX 78956
Account # 8624844