Woman on trial for conspiracy

Kelly Daws speaks with her lawyer

UPDATE: Kelly Daws has been found guilty and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.  

A trial is underway for 47-year-old Kelly Daws, who allegedly conspired with her boyfriend, 48-year- old Joal Riley, to murder her estranged husband, ex- Port Arthur Police Officer Jerry Daws. This trial comes after Riley was sentenced to serve seven years for aggravated assault in May 2018, stemming from the stabbing of Officer Daws in December 2016. 

According to a previous Examiner report, on Dec. 22, Officer Daws was off-duty in his Port Arthur apart- ment when he received a knock at his door. Upon answering, he encountered a man he did not recognize, later alleged to be Riley, who handed him a machete, which he said was to keep safe from children who might hurt themselves. A few minutes later, the same man returned requesting the machete back, to which Daws obliged. 

Riley then allegedly “began stabbing Daws at his front door and followed him into his bedroom, stabbing Daws as Daws retreated,” an arrest affidavit stated. 

Daws, however, began to use “hand-to-hand defensive techniques” and “diversionary tactics” to fight back and ultimately escape. 

After escaping, a call to 911 was made at 6:33 p.m. stating that an officer was being assaulted at Willow Lake Apartments. 

During a police investigation, as they were seeking to identify the suspect, a neighbor of Officer Daws’ at Willow Lake Apartments reported seeing a suspicious vehicle, which was later revealed to be in Riley’s possession. 

At the time of the incident, Officer Daws was admit- ted into St. Elizabeth for treatment of his injuries, which were reported by PAPD as not life-threatening. After his release from St. Elizabeth, Daws was shown a photo of Riley. He was then quoted as saying, “That’s him! That’s him!” 

Later, Riley was interviewed by PAPD Det. Mickey Sterling and admitted to being at the Willow Lakes Apartments at the time of the stabbing, saying that he was there looking for an old “Army buddy,” named Chris Hammond. PAPD Sgt. Scott Gaspard contacted a Chris Hammond of Nederland. It was reported that Hammond told Gaspard he had never heard of Riley or been to Willow Lakes Apartments. 

Kelly Daws was later indicted and charged with criminal conspiracy and criminal solicitation, both second-degree felonies. 

PAPD reported that the investigation involved many law enforcement agencies, such as the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, United States Marshals Service, Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.