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Judge denies motion to dismiss/reduce murder charge

October 12, 2011 - A motion to dismiss or reduce the murder charge against an Oxford father who allegedly bludgeoned his daughter with a baseball bat on May 9 was denied last week by a judge.

Robert Brian Kelly, 52, is charged with the first-degree, premeditated murder of his 20-year-old daughter, Megan Roberts.

He allegedly struck her head with an aluminum bat multiple times as she was sleeping in her bedroom inside their home on S. Glaspie St. in Oxford Village.

As a result of the alleged attack, her face was "unrecognizable" and she suffered a traumatic brain injury that left her in a coma, requiring mechanical ventilation and tube feeding.

Roberts, a 2009 graduate of Oxford High School, was eventually taken off life support and died in the hospital 13 days later on July 27.

At an Oct. 5 hearing, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Rudy Nichols denied the defense's motion to quash or reduce the charge.

Sanford Schulman, Kelly's defense attorney, argued there was no evidence to indicate his client's alleged act was premeditated.

"The evidence was simply that he was seen walking towards and then from the complainant's room," Schulman wrote in his motion. "The prosecutor argued that this indicates premeditation. However, there was no evidence of planning or forethought."

Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Justin Davis argued the fact that Kelly was seen by Robert's mother on the day of the alleged attack walking from the front of the home to Roberts' bedroom in the back was indeed evidence of premeditation.

"During this time, (Kelly) had an opportunity to reflect on what he intended to do to Megan," Davis wrote in his response to the defense motion. "In addition, the circumstantial evidence indicates that (Kelly) had a second opportunity to reflect on his intended actions when he entered the bedroom and saw the face of his sleeping daughter before he struck her for the first time."

Given the injuries indicated Roberts was hit "multiple times," the prosecutor argued that Kelly "had an opportunity to reflect on his actions each time he struck Megan," which is "further evidence of premeditation and deliberation."

Nichols set a pretrial hearing for Nov. 18.

Schulman intends to argue an insanity defense.

Earlier this year, an evaluation conducted on Kelly by the state's Center for Forensic Psychiatry found him to be both competent to stand trial and criminally responsible for his actions.

Kelly worked as a private practice psychologist for approximately 25 years.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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