Morrow County Man Pleads Guilty To Lesser Charges In Baseball Bat Beating

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A Morrow County man pled guilty to the first degree felony of voluntary manslaughter and the third degree felony of tampering with evidence, which are lesser charges than the aggravated murder charge he was facing.  Cory Kelly was accused in the beating death of his girlfriend's father.  Joe Rosella's body was found in a garage on July 4th, 2011.

Authorities said he was beaten to death with an aluminum baseball bat.  They said Kelly came back to the house a few hours after the killing and offered comfort to grieving family members.
Kelly, who admits to killing his girlfriend's father, spoke to 10TV after he agreed to the plea deal. When the 26-year-old was asked about the agreement, he said "I'm tired of playing the case."  When asked if he feels guilty, he said "Yeah…I wish this never happened."

In court, Kelly described what happened. "There was an altercation. I struck the guy twice with a baseball bat in the head."

When the judge asked, "Is it your reasonable impression that he was deceased at the end of that?," Kelly said, "Yes your honor."

Those two felonies could land Kelly up to 15 years in prison.

"Basically, he's getting the same sentence as if he pled to a regular murder, which would be 15 to life," said Morrow County Prosecutor Charles Howland.

Howland said there were issues with the speed of the trial, but more importantly, conflicts in evidence.

He said witnesses told him Rosella drank the equivalent of two-and-a-half gallons of beer on the night of his death, but said the coroner's findings show no alcohol in his blood and other types of wounds on his head.

"Her objective findings indicate there was another participant in the killing. We're trying to pursue that other individual, and depending on what he says in court tomorrow will shape the outcome of our further course of conduct," said Howland.

Family and friends of the victim tell 10TV they were shocked to hear of the plea deal. Rosella's wife said she only learned of the decision in court today after watching the evening news and said she's angry over the outcome.

The prosecutor says another man is being held in jail in connection to the crime, but he says that man's future greatly relies on what Kelly says in court during his sentencing Wednesday afternoon.

Stay with 10TV for updates.