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Gypsum boy arrested for murdering father

May 6, 2014, 7:00 am

A 13-year-old Gypsum boy was arrested Monday for the first-degree murder of his father.

Police say Kai Kelly is suspected of shooting his 50-year-old father, Joseph Kelly, Jr., twice in the head with a .22-caliber rifle sometime last week.

According to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Kai Kelly called his father’s employer, Eagle County’s ECO Transit Department, several days in a row saying Joseph Kelly wouldn’t be in to work because of illness.

Joseph Kelly also failed to show up for a scheduled meeting with Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies on Wednesday, April 30, to discuss Kai Kelly’s suspected graffiti activity, police said.

eagle county sheriff logoOn Monday, an ECO Transit official called police to report the suspicious nature of Kai Kelly continuing to call in sick for his father. At 11:30 a.m., Monday, deputies went to the house to perform a “wellness check.”

When Kai Kelly answered the door, police say he told them that Joseph Kelly was dead.

“The victim’s 13-year-old son was taken into custody and is being booked into the Eagle County Detention Facility and will be transported to Mount View Youth Detentions Facility [in Jefferson County] on charges of First Degree Murder,” the sheriff’s office reported on Monday.

On Tuesday, Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis confirmed the identity of the victim as Joseph Kelly, Jr., of 483 Vicksburg Lane, Gypsum. The cause of death was two gunshot wounds to the head, and the manner of death was homicide, Bettis said.

Bettis also said on Tuesday that the state of Joseph Kelly’s body was consistent with his death taking place approximately six days ago. She added that he was shot twice in the head with a .22 rifle –once to the back of the head and once to the temple.

“At this time the motive is still under investigation,” sheriff’s officials stated in a press release. “A petition was filed by the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office today [Tuesday] listing charges of First Degree Murder, Criminal Mischief, and a Crime of Violence sentence enhancement.”

Kai Kelly, who attends St. Clare of Assisi Catholic School in Edwards, will appear in Eagle County District Court on Monday.

Joseph Kelly was a 5-year employee of the ECO Transit Department.

Anyone with any information about the suspect or the alleged crime should call the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office at (970) 328-8500 or Eagle County Crime Stoppers at 970-328-7007, 1-800-972-TIPS, submit a tip online at, or text a tip from a cell phone to STOPCRIME plus a message to CRIMES (274637). Tips can earn up to a $1,000 reward from Crime Stoppers.




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