Former Van Buren Photographer Arrested In Murder For Hire Plot

CRAWFORD COUNTY (KFSM) — Former Van Buren photographer John Kelly was arrested on charges of conspiring to commit murder.

According to an arrest affidavit, Kelly planned to kill a girl he is accused of raping last year, as well as her grandparents and her father.

Kelly, 49, considered sending them to Mexico and arranging that they "never return." The affidavit also states that Kelly discussed killing the four people himself.

"We had received some information Mr. Kelly was looking to hire someone to kill those who were involved in this and the Crawford County sheriffs started an undercover operation and today we were able to present an affidavit to the judge," said Crawford County Sheriff Ron Brown.

Sheriff Brown says that the investigation lasted about five months.

Kelly faces four counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

The affidavit states that Kelly gave the other person money and a motorcycle. He also promised the other person a Mustang upon completion of the job.

Kelly pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and was given a $500,000 bond.

Kelly was previously charged with five counts of sexual assault in January 2018, but was released on June 7, 2018, on a $50,000 bond.

Kelly owned a well-known photography business in Crawford County.

5NEWS is not identifying the photography business due to the fact that Kelly is no longer the owner.

At the time of ownership, his photography business was contracted to take class pictures for surrounding school districts.

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