Trial begins for man accused of trying to kill grandparents

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COLUMBIA - A jury trial began Wednesday for a man charged with conspiracy to commit murder, domestic assault and armed criminal action after trying to kill his grandparents.

According to court documents, Brian Kelley, 20, and Jared Bears, 19, attacked Kelley's, now 77-year-old, veteran grandfather at home in December, 2017. The assault ended when the grandfather used wasp spray on Kelley and held him at gunpoint until deputies arrived.

Investigators found a conversation between Kelley and Bears from earlier that day on Kelley's Facebook page. In that conversation, investigators said the two suspects allegedly talked about killing the couple by beating them to death. They also apparently discussed when to meet after the murders to dispose of the bodies, and which vehicle they could use to outrun law enforcement.

Seven witnesses were listed to take the stand during the trial. The first witness was Katie Aleshire, a Boone County records custodian.

The second witness was Richard "Dick" Lewis, Kelley's grandfather.

Susan Boresi, the prosecuting attorney, presented opening statements. She told the jury Kelley charged at his grandparents. She mentioned Kelley swung at his grandmother Cindy and blacked her eye.

When Lewis took the stand, Boresi played the 12-minute 911 call. In the call you could hear Lewis and his wife yelling for help.

On the stand, Lewis talked about the impact from Kelley's hits.

"They were coming fast. The first two were coming on fast, and the rest were just continuous," Lewis said.

Boresi also presented pictures showing the damage to Lewis' body following the incident.

Stephen Wyse, Kelley's attorney, said the grandparents attacked Kelley first. He said Lewis elbowed Kelley in the mouth and hit him to the ground. Kelley then attempted to get his belongings to leave, when his grandmother saturated him with the wasp spray as his grandfather grabbed the gun.

Wyse said Kelley has emotional and mental health issues, and the plot to kill the couple with Bears was a "fantasy conversation." 

The trial will proceed on Thursday morning at 8:15 am.