Musician charged in killing

Dale C. Kelly is charged with shooting and killing his 82-year-old father with a 20-gauge shotgun.

Local musician Dale C. Kelly could occasionally be seen sitting on a swing in his father's front yard, peacefully strumming his guitar.

Neighbors said he is a talented guitarist and a loving son. North Charleston police said he is a killer who opened fire on his 82-year-old father Monday night through a closed bedroom door.

"The suspect was in his bedroom throwing things around and punching the door," Spencer Pryor, police public information officer, wrote in a prepared statement. "The victim went to investigate, and the suspect shot three rounds from a 20-gauge shotgun through the closed door, with the rounds striking the victim."

Creighton M. Kelly, a retired electrician, died of his wounds about a half-hour later.

Dale Kelly, 47, who plays at local bars and nightclubs, is charged with murder and remained at the Charleston County Detention Center on Tuesday night.

What led to the 8:30 p.m. shooting is unknown.

Darlene Simons, who lives next door to the home on Hartford Circle, knew the younger Kelly from watching him perform and eventually learned that his father was her neighbor. She said Dale Kelly and his wife, Jeannine Kelly, moved in with the father more than six months ago while their new home is being constructed in Cottageville.

Both men were friendly neighbors who always seemed to get along, Simons said. She said they shared a love of fishing and hunting, and Creighton Kelly had recently bragged that his son was a "good shot."

"Mr. Kelly always talked about Dale like he was the greatest thing ever born," she said. "He was just so proud of his son."

She said Dale Kelly is an only son, and his father had been divorced for many years.

Her husband, Billy Simons, said he was eating dinner Monday when a truck squealed out of the driveway next door and then raced back up the driveway.

"I came in here to watch TV, and all of a sudden I saw the police," he said, adding that he never heard gunshots.

An affidavit said three shots had been fired at waist level, and Jeannine Kelly heard the blasts and walked to the rear of the house to find Creighton Kelly on the floor, bleeding.

Dale Kelly will later face a circuit judge for a bond hearing. His criminal history shows one previous conviction for driving under the influence.

J. Henry Stuhr Inc., Northwoods Chapel, is handling Creighton Kelly's funeral arrangements.

Neighbors won't be seeing him take his afternoon walks around the block anymore, and they wonder who will take care of the little black cat that he recently adopted.

"It is a loss," Darlene Simons said. "He was a great neighbor."