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Suspect pleads no contest in armed home invasion

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WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — A man accused of tracking a woman down after he helped her with a flat tire and attacking her pleaded no contest Monday.

Richard Lewis Kelley, Jr. entered the plea to charges of burglary of a dwelling while armed and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Kelley will be sentenced on May 19.  He faces a potential life sentence in the case.

The charge arose from an incident that occurred on October 16, 2018 at a house on Business 331 in Freeport, Florida, prosecutors wrote in a news release. Kelley had assisted the victim the previous day in changing a flat tire down the road from her home. 

“It is believed that Kelley saw the victim drive home afterward and learned where she lived,” prosecutors wrote. “After the victim’s husband left home early the next morning, Kelley kicked in a door to the house and entered armed with a hammer and knife. He attacked the victim with the hammer in her bedroom while her child watched.”

However, the woman was able to fight Kelley off. This struggle caused Kelley to drop his hammer, knife, and baseball cap. He then fled from the home but was witnessed by two bystanders as he was leaving the property.  The hammer, knife, and hat were collected by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) for DNA testing. 

DNA matching Kelley’s was found on the knife and hat. 

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