Crime

Mental health exam results delay hearing for man accused in cousin's killing

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD 
 Dexter Mendoza Kelley waits on Tuesday April 5, 2016 in Jackson County Court for his initial appearance on a murder charge in the death of Cliff Allyn.
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD Dexter Mendoza Kelley waits on Tuesday April 5, 2016 in Jackson County Court for his initial appearance on a murder charge in the death of Cliff Allyn. SUN HERALD

PASCAGOULA -- The preliminary hearing of a Meridian native accused in the beating death of his cousin was moved Monday to July 18.

County Court Judge T. Larry Wilson said the delay is because officials are waiting on results of a mental evaluation performed on Dexter Kelley, 19.

Kelley is being held on a murder charge in the March killing of Cliff Allyn, a 16-year-old Vancleave High School student. A preliminary hearing is held to determine if there is enough evidence in a case to send it on to a grand jury for possible indictment.

Jenny Smith, Allyn's mother, said she was frustrated because no one is telling her much about what is happening in the case.

"I wish they would communicate with us better because we don't know what's going on," Smith said Monday after the delay was announced. "We haven't been told anything about anything. Nobody is keeping us informed."

Smith reported her son missing March 30, the day before a police K-9 discovered Allyn's body in a wooded area about 200 yards behind his grandmother's house in rural Vancleave.

Kitty Johnson, Allyn's grandmother, last saw Allyn alive while he was outside her home playing basketball with Kelley and Kelley's brother, Dustin Kelley.

At the time of the killing, Allyn was living in a home with his grandmother, and Dexter Kelley was staying in a mobile home with his brother that on the same property.

Smith cried during a court break Monday when she started talking to the Jackson County deputy in charge of the investigation.

"I wish I had the right words to make you feel better," Investigator Lisa Edwards told the grieving mother, while also offering to set up an appointment with her to discuss any questions she might have.

Smith left the courtroom in tears.

Paul Kelley, Smith's brother, also drove in from Meridian for the hearing and plans to return the next time his son is expected in court. Kelley said he wants to show support for his son.

Kelley and Smith no longer talk to one another as a result of Allyn's murder and subsequent arrest of Dexter Kelley in the teen's beating death.

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