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'I lost my father, my friend': Son of slain St. Louis real estate agent speaks out after suspect indicted

"I lost my father, my friend and I miss talking to him," said John Kelly.

ST. LOUIS — "I look at it. I say a little prayer, but I miss him," said John Kelly as tears filled his eyes.

A heartbroken Kelly weeps every time he looks at a memorial outside his father's real estate office on North 25th Street near Bremen in north St. Louis.

It's where 72-year-old Michael Kelly was shot and killed about three months ago.

"I love him. I'm sorry it happened. I miss talking to him and just having that experience. It's hard and Father's Day is just around the corner," said Kelly.

According to charging documents, on March 8, Michael Kelly pulled up in his pickup truck and parked outside his office in the Hyde Park Neighborhood.

Police said surveillance video shows Kelly sitting in his truck when a man, later identified as 27-year-old James Cody Jr., followed Kelly, hopped out of a gray car and repeatedly fired gunshots.

"To my knowledge, there were possibly 22 shots fired," recalled the man's son.

Credit: Family photo
Michael Kelly

The longtime landlord, who lived in St. Ann, suffered a gunshot wound to his face, crashed his truck into his business and died. Bullets also hit his real estate business.

Nearly three months after the deadly shooting, you can also see black tire marks on the sidewalk where Kelly crashed.

"It's just unbelievable. I talked to my dad about 40 minutes before all this happened. He was in good spirits. I came straight here while his truck was still in the building," said Kelly.

The devastated son could not believe his dad lost his life in the very neighborhood where for three decades he built and rehabbed homes, especially for low-income residents.

"It was his passion every day to help people and to give them places to live," said a sobbing John Kelly.

"Yeah, I was here that day and heard those gunshots. Just so sad," said one neighbor who lives in the north side neighborhood. "He was a very hard working, content guy. He loved what he was doing."

On Thursday, a grand jury indicted Cody on first-degree murder and armed criminal action charges. He'll be back in court for a hearing on June 13.

At that time, Michael Kelly's family and friends should learn what happens next in the case.

"My understanding is that the grand jury wants to give him a life sentence with no parole, and, that's fine with me. I want justice to prevail. I lost my father, my friend," said John Kelly.

Kelly said the suspect is the boyfriend of one of his father's former tenants.

So far, police have not said anything about a motive for the crime.

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