FREEPORT—Richard Kelley Jr., who attacked a Freeport victim with a hammer, has been sentenced to life in prison for burglary of a dwelling while armed, along with 15 years in prison for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
►RELATED: (March 2020) Alabama man pleads to charges of attacking Freeport woman with knife, hammer
First Judicial Circuit State Attorney Bill Eddins announced the decision Tuesday, according to a press release from the State Attorney’s Office.
Kelley previously entered a no contest plea on these charges on March 9, 2020.
The charges arose from an incident that occurred on October 16, 2018 at a house in Freeport. Kelley had assisted the victim the previous day in changing a flat tire down the road from her home, the release said.
During this encounter, Kelley mentioned that he evacuated from Marianna due to Hurricane Michael and had just recently been released from the hospital due to a motorcycle accident. He showed the victim a fresh scar on his stomach from a surgery.
Authorities believe Kelley watched the woman drive home afterward and learned where she lived.
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.
She was able to recognize Kelley as the man she had met the previous day and successfully fought him off by striking him in his injured stomach. 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 for DNA testing, the report said.
DNA matching Kelley’s was found on the knife and hat. Kelley was subsequently arrested in Cottonwood, AL by a U.S. Marshal fugitive task force.
The investigation and arrest was conducted by the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.