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Parole recommended for Larry Kelley in murder case

From the Cleveland Daily Banner: The Tennessee Parole Board has recommended a former Cleveland man's release from prison after serving a more than

From the Cleveland Daily Banner: The Tennessee Parole Board has recommended a former Cleveland man’s release from prison after serving a more than 30-year sentence for the shooting death of his ex-wife in a church parking lot.


The hearing for Larry Kelley, 76, took place in Chattanooga today, Wednesday, Aug. 9.


Kelley, who is currently serving a life sentence at the Northwest Correctional Complex in Tiptonville, appeared via a video conferencing platform. If his parole is approved by the seven-member parole board, he will be released on March 4, 2024.

It was Kelley’s sixth parole board review since his initial hearing in 2014. Last year, the board voted 4-3 to decline his release.

A final vote by the parole board is expected to take place in two weeks, according to board member Gary Faulcon, who presided over Wednesday’s hearing.


Raquel Wilson and her brother, Brian Wilson, as well as other family members, were at the hearing in an attempt to keep Kelley in prison for the first-degree murder of their mother, Brenda Wilson, 41. She and Kelley were divorced and estranged when she was gunned down outside a church.


A Dec. 3, 1990, article in the Cleveland Daily Banner stated an argument erupted between the divorced couple and led to the shooting, which took place at the Church of the Harvest on Adkisson Drive on a Sunday night.


When Cleveland Police Department detectives arrived at on the scene, Wilson’s body was “found lying on the ground next to the passenger’s side of a vehicle” in the church parking lot.


The detectives said Wilson “had received multiple wounds to the chest and back from a Colt .380-caliber semi-automatic firearm.”


Wilson was transported to Bradley Memorial Hospital — now Tennova Healthcare – Cleveland — and died a short time later.


Officers said Kelley “told them he had waited on his ex-wife to come out of the church, confronted her and that an argument had ensued, which resulted in the shooting.”


Wilson had filed a report on her ex-husband the preceding day when he allegedly accosted her at a laundry room at Blythewood Apartments where she lived on Stephens Road, the Banner reported.


During the incident, Kelley “reportedly grabbed his ex-wife around the neck, choked her, and threatened to kill her,” the article stated.


Wilson was said “to have told officers that she had an order of protection against her ex-husband.”


Kelley was convicted on Dec. 5, 1991, in a Bradley County Criminal Court.


During Wednesday’s hearing, Kelley said he was suffering from major depression prior to the shooting, culminating in what he described as a “psychotic break.”


“I know I’ve hurt them deeply,” Kelley said, referring to his ex-wife’s children. “I am humbly sorry, but I can’t fix it.”


Both Raquel and Brian Wilson gasped when Faulcon announced his recommendation to grant Kelley parole, with Raquel bursting into tears and laying her head on her daughter’s shoulder, and Brian placing his head on the table where they were seated.


Raquel remains unconvinced of Kelley’s remorse, adding he “continues to lie and make excuses.”


Additionally, she said she and her brother have endured decades of depression, trauma and anxiety caused by their mother’s murder.


“I’m in shock,” she told the Cleveland Daily Banner after the hearing.


She said Kelley’s depression and anxiety were just excuses.


“A lot of us lose it, but we don’t go out here and kill people,” she said. “That’s no excuse. Does he not think it was stressful for us over 33 years?”


Brian Wilson said Kelley’s age “has a lot to do” with the recommendation for parole.


“They’re just want to get rid of him because of his age,” he said.


But Brian and Raquel stress that Kelley’s lifetime sentence for “premeditated murder” should be carried out.


“He cold-bloodedly calculated the murder,” he said. “You don’t go to a church with a loaded gun without the intent to do something.”