A Grove City man convicted of killing his parents more than 14 years ago was granted a new trial on Wednesday after a revelation that his former wife had an affair with his attorney.
During an October hearing, Caulley’s attorneys argued that the affair was a direct conflict in his trial, 10TV’s Tanisha Mallett reported.
A judge ordered a new trial for Caulley, 47, and said that his former wife’s affair with the attorney before, during and after Caulley’s trial hampered his defense, Assistant State Public Defender Kimberly Rigby said.
Judge John Martin said that Caulley’s attorney, Jim Owen, spent a lot of time with Caulley’s former wife, Celeste Bowman.
Bowman told Caulley during a visit last summer that she had an affair with Owens.
“Council spent inordinate amounts of time with Celeste Bowman and shunned the rest of his investigators and assistants, leading to mistakes,” Martin said on Wednesday.
Caulley was convicted in 1997 for slaying his parents. He was sentenced to life in prison and is serving his sentence at the Belmont Correctional Institution, Mallett reported.
Rigby said that Caulley deserved a new trial.
“Robert Caulley was wrongfully convicted over 14 years ago, and he’s finally been given the chance at a new trial,” Rigby said. “At the time of Caulley’s trial, his lone attorney was caught up in an affair with Caulley’s wife instead of focusing his efforts on getting Caulley acquitted of a crime he did not commit. The court has rightfully recognized that Attorney Owen was acting under an egregious conflict of interest and neglected his work on Caulley’s case – a case that was clearly not a slam dunk for the prosecution.”
Patricia Deblo, Caulley’s sister, said that she agreed.
"I have always known my brother is innocent,” Deblo said. “He did not kill our parents, and I'm so glad he's finally getting another chance at justice even if this is how it had to happen."
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