Judge Throws Out Subpoenas In Mineola Child Sex Ring Case

Friday Judge Jack Skeen threw out subpoenas filed by Thad Davidson, attorney for Patrick "Booger Red" Kelly.

Skeen said many of the subpoenas would only add to the pre-trial publicity Davidson claims has already tainted the potential jury pool.

Monday, the defense subpoenaed reporters from both the Tyler Paper and KLTV 7 to appear at a change of venue hearing.

Under Friday's rulings, those reporters can still testify.  However, attorneys will not be allowed to ask questions about the personal relationships, e-mails, text messages or notes of the two reporters.  Judge Skeen said the way stories were presented about the case is privileged, and attorneys cannot question why a story is written a certain way.

In addition, Joe Murphy, a state prosecutor, will not have to testify, nor will he have to produce his e-mails or text messages to the court.

The judge also threw out a request to hear from KLTV photojournalists who may have covered stories related to the child sex ring case.

KLTV 7 did agree with no contest to provide copies of all of our reports related to the case, as well as information about our station's ratings.

One issue was not ruled upon.   The state has now requested e-mails, faxes and voicemail recordings from Thad Davidson, the defense attorney, to KLTV 7 reporter Danielle Capper.

Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham said each of the one-way messages from Davidson to Capper went right to the heart of what Davidson calls "unfair" pre-trial publicity.

Bingham said his office became aware of the correspondence after obtaining a police report detailing Capper's request for a Smith County Sheriff's deputy to escort her from the courthouse back to the KLTV-TV station after seeing the defense attorney outside.

"The fact that [Capper] is telling these deputies, 'please escort me over to KLTV so that I don't have to walk alone in front of Mr. Davidson,' doesn't appear to be a newsworthy media contact," he said.  "This appears to be someone getting e-mails from Mr. Davidson that she considers to be creepy enough to need an escort.  This is long before any allegations were made against her from Mr. Davidson."

Also in court Friday, Smith County Prosecutor Joe Murphy weighed in on this situation for the first time publicly.  Murphy's alleged personal relationships with two reporters has put him at the center of this case.  He said the latest proceedings are not what the case is about.

"It is an absolute shame that Mr. Davidson attempted to drag the names of two local reporters through the mud in this case on behalf of his client on allegations that he knows are unfounded, untrue and, most importantly, not evidence," he said.

Murphy then asked the court that at any future hearings, everything remain on point in the case -- the allegations against "Booger Red" Kelly for the child molestation of five little girls in Smith County.

The change of venue hearing is still scheduled for Monday, June 30th.

The defense also filed a motion to delay the trial for 90-days.  The court will take up that matter Monday as well.

Layron Livingston, Reporting.  llivingston@kltv.com