Man gets 25 years in prison for murder of South St. Louis County chief who took him

ST. LOUIS — The family of a St. Louis County chief killed in 2018 confronted the shooter during sentencing Monday, questioning why he targeted a man who only offered him help.

Jesse Kelley, 42, of Green Park, pleaded guilty on Monday to shooting and killing Alexander Marley on September 6, 2018, outside Walmart at 3270 Telegraph Road.

Kelley had approached Marley at a nearby gas station in southern St. Louis County, police said at the time. Family members told court Monday that Marley agreed to drive him shortly before the shooting.

Jessie Kelley was sentenced to 12 years in prison for a robbery in the Central West End. He has an ongoing murder case in St. Louis County.

Kelley pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and felony armed felony on Monday. Circuit Judge Joseph S. Dueker sentenced him to 25 years in prison, following a plea agreement recommendation from St. Louis County prosecutors.

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In a moving statement to the judge before sentencing, Marley’s mother, Cynthia Andrews, said Kelley took advantage of her son’s compassion.

“He took not just Alex’s kindness, but his life,” she said. “And in turn, he took mine.”

Andrews and other family members who spoke at the sentencing said they disagreed with prosecutors’ decision to accept a plea to second-degree murder. The higher first-degree murder charge would have required prosecutors to prove that Kelley killed Marley after deliberation.

Marley, 29, from Lemay, was the executive chef at Andre’s Banquets & Catering, where he worked for six years. More than 700 people attended services honoring his life, his mother said Monday.

Kelley was arrested the day after the shooting in St. Clair County after police released surveillance footage of him wearing a red bandana near the scene of the shooting. Kelley’s father called the police after seeing photos and he identified his son to detectives.

Police released this surveillance photo of a suspect in a homicide on Thursday, September 6, 2018.

Kelley committed a robbery in the Central West End in St. Louis just 15 hours before Marley died.

He pleaded guilty in January and was sentenced to 12 years in prison in the case, admitting to forcing a 17-year-old at gunpoint to withdraw cash from an ATM.

Marley’s father, Chuck Marley, said Monday he doesn’t believe justice has been served by Kelley serving that sentence at the same time he would serve 25 years for Marley’s murder.

“It’s like the city and county of St. Louis are having a special,” he told the judge. “Commit two crimes here and the first is free. Is it any wonder we have so many murders? »

Chuck Marley said his son had a fearless compassion that led him to drive Kelley.

“(Kelley) chose to destroy the life of a beautiful man, the only man who wasn’t afraid to help her,” he said.

In May 2016, Kelley also pleaded guilty in federal court to setting fire to an apartment building, at 7955 Manchester Road in Maplewood, and stealing an explosive device, Sarnacol 2170, used to repair the roof.

Kelley admitted in the case to pouring the material on a warehouse floor in January 2015 before setting it on fire. Surveillance video showed Kelley and a friend walking towards the business and then walking away after the fire.

Kelley was sentenced to 18 months in prison for arson and ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution, according to court records.

He was released in January 2018, about nine months before shooting Marley, according to court records and posts he made on his Facebook page.

When a friend on Facebook asked Kelley why he was sent to jail, he replied, “Because I committed a federal crime…I guess you were out of the arc when I got done. jump… I shouldn’t say the details on a public forum but I’ll give you a hint… It’s going tick tick boom.”

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