Crime

Man accused in cousin's beating death due in Jackson County court

JACKSON COUNTY -- A 19-year-old accused in the beating death of his cousin is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Monday in County Court.

Dexter Kelley has remained jailed without bond on a charge of murder since his arrest the evening of March 31. He is accused in the March 30 beating death of his cousin Cliff Allyn, 16.

A police K-9 led Jackson County investigators to Allyn's body about 200 yards behind his grandmother's home in rural Vancleave. Allyn had been living with his grandmother, Kitty Johnson. Kelley had been staying with his brother in a mobile home on the same property.

Johnson last saw Allyn, Kelley and Kelley's brother playing basketball outside Johnson's home about 2:30 p.m. When she returned about 45 minutes later, she said Allyn was nowhere to be found.

Allyn's mother, Jenny Smith, said Dexter Kelley ran away when authorities found her son's body.

Smith said her son had been so severely beaten the funeral home had tried to cover his head when she got there.

Kelley, a native of Meridian, has had several run-ins with law enforcement over the years.

He admitted threatening the lives of his father, brother and other relatives with knives and scissors at a Gautier home. His brother did not wish to press charges, but police arrested Kelley anyway. In one police report, Kelley's mother said, she had been trying to get her son into a state mental hospital because he had a "mental disorder."

Kelley's father, Paul Kelley, said his son suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and the family had been trying to get him help but kept getting turned away.

The Kelley family said they had sent Dexter Kelley to a hospital, but it wouldn't keep him. They said they tried to persuade authorities to keep Dexter Kelley jailed, but he ended up back on the streets within days every time.

Smith said the nephew she knew was on drugs.

Paul Kelley said he'd caught his son smoking marijuana and spice, a synthetic cannabinoid, in the past.

Johnson said Kelley has "got the demon in him."

"He's always been that way," Johnson said.

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