Most parents can only hope and wait for their children to make it home from jail.
A few — namely, Marilyn and Jerry Kelly — stand outside the courthouse in protest aprons, railing about their son being left to fester in jail until he couldn’t take it anymore and pleaded guilty.
The son in question is former male model-turned-sex offender Dean Kelly, who was shipped to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola a few weeks ago after a judge yanked his probation.
The Uptown seniors spent Tuesday morning under a hot sun on Tulane Avenue, wrapped in plastic smocks dripping with white-lettered diatribes meant for Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.
“It was all B.S. Cannizzaro knows he’s innocent,” said Marilyn Kelly, 81. “Cannizzaro wins are all about forcing the innocent to plea to be free. Is this what the Constitution said?”
The St. Charles Avenue couple wore stars-and-stripes suspenders clipped to bright blue aprons. They misspelled Cannizzaro’s name while accusing him of not being able to read the Constitution, but the message was clear: The DA made their son his “personal whipping boy,” Marilyn Kelly said.
Dean Kelly, 43, had been accused of raping two teenage girls in 2005. He pleaded guilty in September to a pair of sexual battery counts and a charge of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. Criminal District Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier handed him a 10-year suspended sentence and warned him not to screw up.
Soon afterward, Kelly is accused of sending out party invitations in a mass text message under a social-media alias — violating the terms of his probation, which Flemings-Davillier revoked after a hearing this month.
His mother rejected the allegations and complained about “a probation set up to fail.”
Kelly, who appeared as a shirtless hunk in the 1994 Aerosmith video “Crazy,” was first arrested in early 2011, then rebooked soon afterward on a third sexual assault count. Over the course of three years awaiting trial, he struggled to get free and stay free.
A judge in 2011 revoked his probation on an unrelated charge of disturbing the peace after hearing testimony from a dozen Tulane University women who accused Kelly of harassing them.
He once appeared in court with his face bruised and swollen from a jailhouse beating to which three men later pleaded guilty.
Beneath the courthouse steps, Marilyn Kelly paged through before-and-after shots of her son’s face, flipping between smooth and swollen images.
She and her husband struggled to cover the $250,000 cost to release Kelly with a cash bond, she said, after he was indicted and his bail reached $2.5 million.
Now they’re on an election-year mission. The couple aims to enlist local clergy as they gun for Cannizzaro’s office.
No one has yet emerged to take on Cannizzaro at the polls, and a spokesman for his office did not comment Tuesday on the Kellys’ allegations.
The Kellys plan to return to the courthouse steps each morning for two weeks, aprons tied, Marilyn Kelly said.
“That is all our old, old bodies can take,” she said.