Jake Brydon always knew this day would come.
"We're clearly elated that this is going to be made right," Brydon said.
Brydon reacted on Monday to State District Judge Donna King's recommendation to overturn Greg Kelley's child sex assault conviction. The founder of GRK Foundation, a nonprofit whose only purpose is to exonerate former Leander football star, Greg Kelley, said they are now one step closer to the ultimate goal of exoneration.
"But we've been fighting from a place of victory, and what I mean by that is once we had the facts, once we knew what had happened to this victim and the people that were involved, it became one of those things that we were confident the entire time," Brydon explained. "When we started this, we had three very distinct goals and we have been laser-focused on those, and it's to get Greg exonerated. And we'll be extremely excited when that officially happens: it's to hold the people who did this accountable, and then to make sure it can't happen again."
Meantime, Austin criminal defense attorney, Claire Carter, is taken aback, especially when Judge Donna King called Kelley's former attorney, Patricia Cummings' counsel, ineffective. Carter is not connected to the Kelley case.
"So for someone who is a well respected, well-regarded attorney to be criticized for decisions that seemed sound at the time, is a frightening thing for all of us, " said Carter. "It's unusual. And as a private practicing attorney, it's frightening. I do the best I can all the time. I try to make good decisions. I always put the best interest of my client first, but inevitably I'm going to be wrong on some points because we are all still human."
Carter also said Judge King's ruling to overturn Kelley's conviction will open up a can of worms.
"If the Court of Criminal Appeals grants the relief that she recommends they grant, it will send the case back to the district attorney's office for Shawn Dick, the newly elected District Attorney, to decide if he wants to move forward and prosecute that case against Greg Kelley for a second time or re-open the case for reinvestigation," Carter said.
Carter said the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will either uphold Kelley's conviction or send the case back to the Williamson County District Attorney's Office, but it won't do anything this year since the Court is out for winter recess. Carter said come January, a briefing attorney will be assigned to the case and a decision could come in February. At the latest, it could come down in June, since that's when the Court recesses again.