Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paul Kelly, Killer Actor

"Something Salacious"

Kelly's trial, held just a month after Raymond's death, was a national spectacle, with coast-to-coast newspaper coverage. The Los Angeles Times said it was the most heavily-attended trial in the history of California.

W.I. Gilbert, the chief defense attorney, sneered that people had packed the courtroom to "hear something salacious."

Addressing the crowd, he added, "Clean-minded people stay at home."

Throughout the trial, Gilbert referred to his client Kelly as "that young man" and "that boy," even though he was 27 years old.

"There are two sides to every story," Gilbert told the jury. "Kelly was not entirely responsible for what happened. Raymond was partially to blame also. He met up with a lady he had known back in New York who happened to be married. But he had nothing to do with the breaking of their home."

Wags in the gallery chuckled at that naive assessment, and Judge Charles Burnell threatened to clear the courtroom.

Gilbert had an uphill battle proving Kelly innocent.

Maid Ethel Lee testified that Mackaye rarely slept at home while Raymond was on the road. Jungle, Kelly's houseboy, confirmed that her primary place of repose was under the covers with his boss.

The love letters and telegrams admitted as evidence didn't help Kelly's cause.

The trial reached its sexy crescendos when Kelly and Mackaye took the witness stand.

Kelly was subdued and appeared nervous. In carefully measured testimony, he revisited the details of his statement to police. Yes, he was in love with Mackaye. He resented Raymond's insinuations about the legitimacy of his love so he went to the house to duel with him.

For her part, Mackaye stuck to her la-la land story that while it may seem to the unsophisticated observer that she and Kelly were having an affair, nothing could be further from the truth.

Headline writers weren't convinced, penning such news trumpets as "Miss Mackaye Denies Nights in Kelly's Flat" and "Japanese Houseboy on Stand Reveals Secrets of Paul Kelly and Dorothy Mackaye."

Mackaye admitted that she and Kelly had discussed marriage, but only "in a kidding way." And they hadn't been intimate but they had "played around together a little bit." The eight women and four men of the jury scratched their heads.

The jury also learned from Mackaye that she had paid Dr. Sullivan the exorbitant fee of $500 for caring for her husband. The prosecutor insinuated that it was a bribe for helping cover up Raymond's death.

Mackaye chirped, "Why, I once paid $300 to get a tooth pulled!"

The gallery gasped, since a tooth extraction was going for 2 bucks — tops.

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