Psychologist sentenced to 20-30 years for killing daughter with baseball bat

July 12, 2012

An Oxford Village psychologist can't explain why he got up early one morning in May 2011, walked down the hallway to his daughter's room and beat her into a coma with a baseball bat as she slept.

Megan Robert, 20, died a few months later at a local hospital.

"I wish I could answer the question as to what would make a human being do what I've done," Robert Kelly told Oakland County Circuit Judge Rudy Nichols before he was sentenced Wednesday.

Nichols ordered Kelly, 53, to spend 20-30 years in prison. He originally was charged with first-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in June with the hope of avoiding a mandatory life sentence.

Kelly stood shackled Wednesday, tears streaming down his face as several people in the courtroom cried.

"I was a good dad and I don't know why I did this," he said. "If only I could bring back Megan. I ask for your prayers and your forgiveness."

His attorney Sanford Schulman said Kelly's undiagnosed mental illness caused the attack.

"Earthquakes happen, tornadoes happen, cancer happens, mental health happens," Schulman said. "There was no motive, none. He loved his daughter."

In an emotional appeal to the judge for a long sentence, Megan Robert's aunt Sandra Bucklyn said her death deeply traumatized the family and left relatives with the same question police and prosecutors had -- why?

"We are coming to terms that we will never really know why Kelly did what he did," Bucklyn said. "But there is no punishment that fits this crime."

In sentencing Kelly, Nichols said, "I've been doing this for 20 or so years, and this is going to go down as the biggest puzzle I've ever seen."

Source: L.L. Brasier, "Dad gets 20-30 years for baseball bat beating death of daughter," Detroit Free Press, July 12, 2012.


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