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Mistrial Declared in First Kelly Rape Case

November 13, 1996|From the Associated Press

STAMFORD, Conn. — A mistrial was declared Tuesday in the first of two trials for a former high school wrestler who hid out on the ski slopes of Europe for eight years to avoid charges of raping two teenagers.

Judge Martin Nigro declared the mistrial in the case against Alex Kelly after the jury of three men and three women declared themselves hopelessly deadlocked on the fifth day of deliberations.

The panel had declared itself deadlocked late Friday, but the jurors resumed work Tuesday morning after the judge asked them to try again to reach a unanimous verdict on the charges of kidnapping and rape.

The jury sent out another note at 1 p.m. saying it remained deadlocked. After asking the jurors if the note reflected their feelings, the judge declared a mistrial.

Lawyers for both sides said the jury had split 4-2 in favor of conviction.

Prosecutor Bruce Hudock, obviously angry and pacing the courtroom, said he would retry Kelly before moving on to the second rape case--"and the victim is ready to take the stand again." A pre-trial hearing was set for Dec. 6.

Kelly, now 29 and free on bond, did not testify at the trial. His lawyer contended he and his accuser had had consensual sex after a drinking party and she made up the rape story because she felt guilty about losing her virginity.

He was accused of raping two teenagers in the backseats of cars four days apart in 1986. He was 18 at the time, and a senior at Darien High School.

He fled the country just before his then-double rape trial was to begin in 1987, visiting 15 countries before surrendering in Switzerland last year as pressure mounted back home on his family.

Six months before Kelly gave himself up, authorities raided the Darien home of his parents, Joseph and Melanie Kelly, real estate investors and operators of a plumbing business in the tony New York suburb.

The raid turned up an unmailed letter to Alex in Sweden and photographs of the Kellys visiting their fugitive son in Europe. Though they helped finance his life on the lam, the parents were never charged.

Now 26 and married, Kelly's accuser testified that he drove past her house, pulled into a cul-de-sac, then forced her into the back cargo area of a Jeep Wagoneer, where he choked her into submission. "He told me this could be easy or this could be hard," she said.

Family members of Kelly's accuser testified that she came home sobbing uncontrollably and said she had just been raped; a gynecologist testified there were signs the girl had been raped.

But Kelly's lawyer said that it would have been impossible for Kelly to choke her and lower the car's rear seat at the same time, as she testified, because it takes two hands to lower the seat of that particular model.

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