Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paul Kelly, Killer Actor

One-Sided Whipping

On April 15, 1927, Ray Raymond returned home after weeks on the road with a touring production of "Castles in the Air," an English farce.

Mackaye was there to greet him, but just barely. She soon slipped out for what she claimed would be a long afternoon of shopping for Easter Eggs. Instead, she bunny-hopped over to Paul Kelly's place and spent the afternoon in what one writer described as a "gin wingding" with her presumed lover and another couple. The jazzy drink of the moment was the gin fizz, and the two couples downed at least six rounds, police were later told.

Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly

As he drank, Kelly worked up a gullet full of bluster over reports from mutual friends that Raymond had been calling him a marriage-breaker.

Truth apparently was no excuse.

At 6:30 p.m., Kelly phoned Raymond.

"When he came to the phone, I told him that I had heard that he was talking about me and that I wanted him to cut it out," Kelly later told police. "Raymond said, 'You're damn right I have, and I wish you were here right now so that I could give you what you deserve.'"

Kelly replied, "I'll be right over."

He rushed to the house — located, conveniently enough, just a few blocks away from his flat. Kelly stood at the door and loudly demanded that Raymond step outside. The maid, Ethel Lee, convinced him to step inside instead, and the two men sat together on the couch.

"I asked what he means by talking about me, and he began to accuse me of caring for his wife," Kelly said. "One word led to another and I slapped him several times. I then got up and went into the kitchen to get a cigarette from the maid. Raymond followed me, and as he neared the kitchen door he screamed, 'I'll get you, you son of a bitch.' I was blind with rage and I hit him several times."

Paul Kelly was a broad-shouldered six-footer, with the build of a light heavyweight boxer. Ray Raymond was built like Fred Astaire — fit but wispy, and not match for Kelly. According to the maid, Raymond insisted that he didn't want to fight, but Kelly taunted him for being "yellow." As the maid begged Kelly to stop, he thrashed Raymond, knocking him down three times. The fight ended when Kelly knocked Raymond out cold with a vicious blow to his left eye.

The Los Angeles Times called it a "one-sided fistic encounter."

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