AUSTIN - The night before the beginning of Greg Kelley's 2014 child sexual assault trial, his defense attorney heard rumors possibly implicating Kelley's best friend in the crime.
Three years later, Kelley's friend, identified as Johnathan McCarty, is now considered a suspect in the case.
As to why the rumors weren't addressed in court, Kelley's attorney Patricia Cummings said she felt -- at the time -- the rumors weren't substantial.
In a statement, Cummings said she heard "what she described as "multi-layered hearsay" that Johnathan McCarty had what appeared to be child pornography on his phone.
"I concluded that even if an investigation of the information was possible, it would not lead to the discovery of admissible evidence and, any time spent on pursuing this type of '11th-hour rumor' would actually be counterproductive to my continued efforts to prepare for trial," Cummings said in a statement.
Now -- three years later and with Kelley serving a 25-year-sentence -- authorities have been pursuing information involving McCarty and his alleged possession of child pornography. Prosecutors named McCarty as a suspect, based in part on confessions that court documents state he made to friends following Kelley's conviction.
At the time of the attack, McCarty's mother operated an in-home daycare -- where a 4-year-old boy says he was sexually abused. Kelley was staying at the McCarty household while his parents were seriously ill.
McCarty remains in the Williamson County Jail on a $450,000 bond for allegedly violating his probation. He has not been charged in the Kelley case, but the Texas Rangers are investigating his connection to the incident.
Legal experts told KVUE and the Austin-American Statesman it's not uncommon to hear rumors and "sexy" claims before a trial. They added it's up to the attorney to make a judgment call to toss out their case in order to explore another route. Keith Hampton, Kelley's current attorney, said he probably would have made the same decision as Cummings under her circumstances.
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