Who killed Kelsey?

By Nolan Clay, Randy Ellis and Ann Weaver Published: December 11, 2005
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MEEKER - The stepfather charged with murdering young Kelsey Smith-Briggs has told friends from jail that he didn't do it and her mother should be arrested instead.

Death puzzles those who know stepdad

"Reach out to everyone you can and let them know that I will be back," Michael Lee Porter wrote in a letter to his secretary and bookkeeper at Midwest Industries Inc., where he is company president.

"Have faith that the truth will be revealed."

Mike Porter, 25, is accused in a first-degree murder charge of striking his stepdaughter, Kelsey, 2, in the abdomen Oct. 11 at their home outside Meeker. His preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 6.

Prosecutors have not announced whether they will charge Kelsey's pregnant mother, Raye Dawn Porter, 26. She and Mike Porter are divorcing. The two married in April.

Mike Porter refused to take a lie detector test, while Raye Dawn Porter volunteered but wasn't allowed to because of her pregnancy, The Oklahoman has learned.

Raye Dawn Porter could face a first-degree murder charge or a charge of failing to protect the child from abuse. She has hired an attorney, a former prosecutor, and denies ever abusing Kelsey.

She told investigators her husband was jealous of Kelsey. She said he complained she didn't give enough attention to his children, Whitney, 8, and Michael, 2.

The case has attracted widespread attention. Many people are pointing to it as an example of how the judicial system and state Department of Human Services fail to protect children.

Kelsey died four months after a judge returned her to her mother, despite suspicions the mother had abused her.

In the months leading up to her death, Kelsey suffered a broken collarbone, fractured legs and repeated bruises. She was moved from her mother to her paternal grandparents to her maternal grandmother to her mother again as investigators tried to sort out whether she'd been abused and who was responsible.

Mike Porter's defense attorney, Paul Sutton, cannot comment because of a judge's gag order. But Mike Porter from the Lincoln County jail is blaming his wife.

"His exact words are he wants her arrested -- he says it every time I talk to him -- for killing that baby. He knows she did it," said Wendell Kelley Jr., a longtime friend and supervisor at Midwest Industries who visits Porter in jail and took him a TV set.

"He says, 'I don't understand why I'm in here,' I believe the guy. This is something a crazy person does."

Raye Dawn Porter's attorney, Steve Huddleston, said, "What else can he say? I knew that was coming, because he has nothing else to fall back on.

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