You are on page 1of 2

A Journey to the Center of the Mind, Book II – The Police Officer Years


James R. Fitzgerald

(In December of 1983, and for years afterwards, many of us in the Bensalem PD

pondered the jury’s acquittal of elected Supervisor Stephen Kelly and his brother in their federal

drug distribution trial. In writing this book, I tracked down and asked the Assistant U.S.

Attorney in the Kelly case some pointed questions. He then provided his pointed answers.)

Bonus Chapter 37a

In 2015, I interviewed Frank Sherman, one of the two prosecutors in the aforementioned

trial. During our conversation, he advised that after all these years he feels the Kellys were

acquitted as a result of four primary factors:

A. Attorney Barry Denker did a very good job of framing the initial arrest of Stephen

Kelly by Chief Viola as politically motivated in nature;

B. The star prosecution witness (the drug-involved mechanic who was allegedly

telephonically threatened by the Kellys and whose car was also allegedly stolen by

one or both of them), didn’t hold up very well under cross-examination by Denker;

C. Another potential prosecution witness, Michael Kelly’s former roommate, who was

arrested for drug related charges in ’81 and at the time represented by Denker, was

not allowed to provide potentially damaging testimony regarding the Kellys at trial.

This was, in part, because of an apparent conflict of interest in that he had been

formerly represented by Denker, who was now representing the defendants, Stephen

and Michael Kelly;

D. In a bizarre example of something NOT being what it seemingly appears on


In January of ’82, at the arrest scene of Stephen Kelly at the Bensalem Township

building, during the subsequent search of his car that evening, and as captured on film

by local Philadelphia CBS news affiliate cameraman Frank Goldstein, BPD Officer

Don Kueny appears to be removing a small handgun from his coat pocket and then

placing it inside Kelly’s car. The edited video clip shown on the news later that night

made it appear as if Kueny was “planting” the weapon in the car. A weapon was, in

fact, found by Kueny in Kelly’s car earlier that evening at the beginning of the search,

but it was not placed there by him or anyone else (other than possibly Kelly).

As a later investigation determined, and as the raw, unedited, timestamped video

footage taken by Goldstein clearly proved, Officer Kueny found the gun in the car

earlier in the search, placed it in his pocket, then later removed it to hold it under the

interior light in the car to record its make, model, and serial number.

Nonetheless, much later during the Kellys’ ’83 trial, the issue of the “planted gun

evidence,” along with the television footage, be it the edited or unedited versions, was

brought up over and over again by Denker. Apparently, the jury believed him, or at

least what he was attempting to suggest. It seemed to be just enough to create the

suspicion of a doubt for them, and resulted in the acquittals of both brothers.