Manassas father gets formal trial date

A Manassas father of 13 was in Prince William County Circuit Court again Wednesday to formalize the trial date on two felony charges in connection with the death of his youngest child.

Kevin Christopher Kelly, 46, appeared in Judge Herman A. Whisenant Jr.’s small courtroom to confirm his Nov. 18-20 trial dates. He is being represented by Manassas attorney Carroll A. Weimer Jr.

A large crowd of supporters, many from All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas where the Kellys are members, waited to enter the courtroom, however only family members were allowed inside.

Kelly, his wife and two of their children, all of whom wore black, were accompanied to court by an unidentified priest.

Kelly was indicted for involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment Monday. The charges stem from the May 30 death of 21-month-old Frances Kelly, who was found dead inside the family’s van parked outside their home at 9727 Zimbro Ave. He could face a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted on both charges.

Outside the court, friends said prayers and continued to do so with the Kelly family once they exited the courtroom.

The group gathered to listen to Kelly’s words of thanks. He asked them to continue to pray.

The Rev. Bob Cilinski said the family is well-known within the parish. Parishioners and the family are grieving the loss of the child, he said.

“A child has died unintentionally and accidentally,” Cilinski said. “It is important for us to look at what caused the death and learn from it. I am not sure if criminal charges and jail time will help. We need to see what didn’t work, and what caused this tragedy and correct it.”

Cilinski said members of the church are offering to help the family in whatever way they can.

“These children are well loved,” Cilinski said. “We are trying to walk with Mr. Kelly during this time.”

Several parishioners and members of the clergy have stated their support for the Kelly family and said they are praying for him during this time.

Officials from the Manassas Police Department said Frances apparently died from heat stroke after being trapped for more than seven hours. Officials estimate temperatures in the van reached about 140 degrees during the hottest part of the day.

The child’s mother was out of the country at the time of the incident.

Kelly is out on a personal recognizance bond awaiting trial.

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