Convicted killer files motion for post-conviction relief, cites ‘ineffective counsel’

A Florida Department of Corrections inmate is currently housed in the Washington County Jail awaiting a hearing for post-conviction relief in his 2018 murder conviction.

Christopher Brett Kelley was found guilty of the June 2017 murder of Wendell Holmes, a fellow resident of Tropical Paradise Assisted Living Facility, in March 2018. Kelley entered a plea agreement where he pled no contest to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

According to the original arrest report filed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were met by a blood-soaked Kelley when they arrived on scene. The report states Kelley approached a deputy with his hands raised saying, “I killed him.” According to reports, Kelley believed Holmes had stolen from him.

Kelley’s attorney, Edmund D. Quintana, filed a motion of post-conviction relief in May 2021, citing “ineffective assistance of counsel” on several different grounds. Quintana alleges Kelley’s former counsel allowed him to enter a plea while incompetent; failed to investigate, prepare or present a case for self-defense; failed to investigate, prepare or present the defense of insanity and misadvised the defendant if he rejected the plea offer and proceeded to trial where the defendant would definitely receive a life sentence.

The hearing was scheduled for April 25; however, it has been postponed until June 6. It is unknown at this time if Kelley will remain at the Washington County Jail or if he will be returned to DOC to await the new hearing date.