Karen Kelly is the younger white woman from Monroeville who has an affair with Walter prior to his conviction. The public scandal of their interracial affair defames Walter and infuriates some white residents of Monroeville. Stevenson implies that this anger, at least in part, leads to Walter’s false arrest. Karen is married with children, but after her affair and divorce she develops a drug addiction and gets involved in criminal activity with Ralph Myers. She is charged for involvement in the Vickie Pittman murder and serves ten years in prison. She later seeks rehabilitation and sorrowfully tries to make amends with Walter.
Karen Kelly Character Timeline in Just Mercy
The timeline below shows where the character Karen Kelly appears in Just Mercy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Mockingbird Players
...five children. In 1986, at 43, Walter was involved with a 25-year-old married white woman, Karen Kelly. Even though Karen was already getting a divorce, her relationship with a black man... (full context)
A few weeks after Walter testifies at Karen Kelly’s custody hearing, the body of Ronda Morrison is found on the floor of Monroe... (full context)
At the same time, Walter is trying to break up with Karen, who has started abusing drugs with her new friend, Ralph Myers. Ralph and Karen are... (full context)
Chapter 7: Justice Denied
...and threats she had made to expose corruption.” They decide to get more information from Karen Kelly, who is serving 10 years at the Tutwiler Women’s Prison for the Pittman murder.... (full context)