Son worried by possibility of plea deal for man accused of killing his dad

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BELTON, Mo. -- Since 2011, a Belton man has lost three family members in two drunk driving accidents. The first killed his mother and sister, the second his father. One man is in prison, the other was set to go on trial Monday, but the case was postponed.

Tyler Bronson was ready to walk into the Jackson County Courthouse Monday morning for the start of a manslaughter trial. Instead, he will be back on May 1st, the date a plea hearing is scheduled.

"It's been very rough, very rough, very lonely, with Easter, I don't have anywhere to go for the holidays anymore," Bronson explained.

It's been just over a year since he lost his father, Buddy. Ronald O'Kelly is accused of driving drunk, running a red light and hitting Buddy, who was on his motorcycle. Court records say in the early morning hours of April 7, 2013, O'Kelly was allegedly speeding and on his cell phone, then fled the scene of the accident.

"I'd love to see the kid get the maximum penalty that the law allows," said Tyler.

But now he isn't sure what will happen and he's already disappointed in the system. In 2011, a drunk driver going the wrong way on I-435 crashed head on into a car his mother and sister were in, they were both killed.

Felix Solano Gallardo was convicted and given 15-year sentences for each death, but the terms are being served concurrently, basically cutting the total time in half. Tyler said he had his dad to lean on during that case, and even though his father isn't here to help now, he's sure Buddy wouldn't be happy.

"He'd be very upset to see that there's a plea bargain potentially in the process of being made, he'd be upset to hear that. But he'd tell me push forward," explained Tyler.

While he waits for the May 1st court date, all Tyler can do is ask prosecutors to do the best they can.

"Don't let him off easy with a small plea bargain. Try to make justice happen in giving this kid as much time as they possibly could," pleaded Tyler.

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12 comments

  • Glenna Reynolds

    Thinking of you, Tyler. Having been through this when my 16 year old daughter was killed by a wrong way drink driver. The killer was given a12 year suspended sentence, so i don’t have any confidence in the system.

  • DC

    This article doesn’t state that Felix Solano Gallardo is an illegal alien, and you won’t be able to find who owned the vehicle or if it was insured and by whom, he was driving when he killed this young man’s mother and sister. 15 years for 2 murders is a travesty.

    Jackson County should not accept any pleas for the murder of his father.

  • Richard Newberry

    I knew Buddy and his entire family for over 15 years. The heartbreak we all feel is beyond words. Tyler is what every young man should be. Ronald O Kelly is not. Please Jackson Co. Do the right thing. Please visit Justice for Buddy on Facebook.

  • Gary Kiefer

    Everyone check out Justice for Buddy on Facebook. Keep tabs on when the sentencing hearing is and please show up for support and show Jackson County this is not fair. The prosecutor, for your information, is Twenter.

  • JenLamb35

    Can’t Tyler and his family file a civil suit against both drivers for wrongful death? You don’t have to stop at criminal courts – they can take them through the civil system as well.

  • CT

    That’s not justice. A 120 day sentence is for someone that didn’t drink, didn’t text, and had one of those pure accidental bizarre moments when you realize too late that there’s a red light, chance horrible timing occurs, then stayed at the scene calling 911, gave whatever assistance possible, and acted in a purely honest and honorable way about the mistake. Judge you are misguided and you sicken me. Quit and get out of law as you are unfit for the robe. Judge what is on your sentencing scale for doing everything right when something wrong accidentally happens? What lower sentence do you give than you gave for the case of a person choosing to drug themselves with alcohol, choosing to drive, acting cowardly, leaving the scene, leaving a man to die in the street…a justice dodging punk? Was the sentence morbidly light because of which drug it was? Because you Judge also drug yourself with alcohol? What matters which drug it was? Think through the sentence if it was heroine. Would you give the same sentence? What matters which drug it was that inebriated the killers brain? It’s DUI not DU beer. You should be disbarred for this injustice or step down yourself but if you continue I urge you to not think of the intentional and premeditated drugging of the accused’s brain as lightly as you do. The bad outcome of purposely drugging yourself and driving should be expected…it’s an accident when no one gets hurt.

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