Murder Charges Reduced For Sperry Man Who Mistook Friend As Intruder

Friday, May 6th 2016, 6:46 pm
By: Joseph Holloway

A judge on Friday sentenced a 79-year-old man in 2014 Sperry homicide.

Prosecutors worked out a plea deal with Fletcher Foster, reducing his first-degree murder charge to second-degree manslaughter.

"The feeling is one of deep remorse,” Foster's attorney David Phillips said.

Foster will spend four years in prison for second-degree manslaughter and 10 years for possession of a firearm -- with six of those years on probation.

Phillips said Foster did not recognize William Kelley that night in December 2014.  He thought he was an intruder, so he shot Kelley.

Foster was a transient, and Kelley let him live in a building on his property.

"They were good friends, they were... he was part of their family,” Phillips said.

The night of the shooting, Kelley entered his building, where Foster was staying in order to get some equipment, documents say. Kelley's son said Foster didn't seem to recognize them, even though they stated why they were there, an arrest report says.

Phillips referred to some of Foster's health problems -- like dementia, his daily breathing treatments and being confined to a wheelchair -- as reasons he shouldn't serve more time behind bars.

"He has stage 4 COPD, which is the last stage,” Phillips said.

In a victim impact statement, Kelley's wife Debra said Foster knew what he did and did not regret it.

Phillips says there's no proof of that.

"There's plenty of evidence that would have refuted some of the things she said,” Phillips said.

Debra Kelley, who did not want to go on camera, said no verdict will make her family happy because she won't get her husband back and her children are scarred after seeing their father die.

Phillips says neither the Kelley family or Foster will ever be the same again.

"There's no way that the court system or myself or even Mr. Foster can heal those wounds,” Phillips said.

The judge says both of Foster's sentences will be served at the same time, and since he will get credit for time served, Foster could be free in two years.