The trial was supposed to start with jury selection Monday in Cobb Superior Court in the case involving the shooting death of Milton Carl Kelley, 53.
But the attorney for one of the three defendants asked for and was granted a continuance, citing health reasons. The new trial date is Oct. 21, as approved by Judge Stephen Schuster.
Kelley, a self-employed auto mechanic, father and grandfather, was shot and killed in his home on Leicester Drive off Bells Ferry Road on April 21, 2012.
Three men are charged with murdering him — Percy Lee Burdine Jr., 31; Jalin D. Collins, 20; and Brandon Tyler Love, 19 — remain in the Cobb jail without bonds.
Kelley enjoyed working on cars, cooking, collecting lighters and listening to jazz, according to the obituary that ran shortly after his death in the Home News Tribune in his native New Brunswick, N.J. He had lived in Georgia for the last 18 years of his life.
“The state and the court were ready for trial today, but they also agreed to the continuance because of the medical issues,” said Kim Isaza, spokeswoman for District Attorney Vic Reynolds’ office. “Attorney Terrence Bradley, representing Jalin Collins, asked for a continuance due to Bradley’s severe medical issues, and the other two defendants agreed to the request.”
Burdine Jr., Collins and Love are accused of assaulting Kelley and then shooting him with a handgun in what was described by one of the defense attorneys as “a robbery gone bad.” Neither the arrest warrants nor the indictments say which suspect actually pulled the trigger or exactly what led to the shooting that day on Leicester Drive in the Canterbury West subdivision.
Love was arrested April 24, 2012, and Collins and Burdine were arrested the following day. Burdine’s attorney, Gary Jones of Marietta, has said his client was not even at Kelley’s home on the day of the killing. If that is true, it would leave either Love or Collins as the trigger man.
According to the May 30 indictment, all three face charges of murder, two counts each of aggravated assault and one count each of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and misdemeanor marijuana possession.
The maximum penalties for the charges are: death or life in prison with or without the possibility of parole on the murder charges, five to 20 years in prison on the aggravated assault charges, five years on the possession of a firearm charge and up to one year in prison on the charge of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
Kelley is survived by six children and eight grandchildren. “Milton will be remembered as a great son, brother, father, grandfather, uncle and friend,” according to his obituary. “He was a person who would go out of his way to help others.”