No charges will be filed against socialite in sidewalk photo shoot confrontation

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Prosecutors said they won't charge a Houston socialite involved in a fight over a baby's photo shoot.

The incident happened in mid-February. Isaiah and Kelyn Allen were having a photo shoot for their soon-to-be 1-year-old.

During the shoot, Franci Neely approached the family and a photographer, who were on the sidewalk of the Broadacres esplanade in Houston.

An argument ensued, which the Allens captured on camera, as Neely told the family to leave.

During the confrontation, Neely swiped at Isaiah Allen on two occasions, striking his phone.

Neely is the ex-wife of Houston Astros owner, Jim Crane.

The Allens contacted police. Harris County and Houston prosecutors investigated the incident.

The county said it dropped the case for class A assault on March 5 after evaluating evidence and applying the law, a prosecutor determined the incident couldn't be prosecuted.

This week, a city of Houston spokesperson told Eyewitness News it won't pursue a lesser class C assault because of a lack of evidence.

Eyewitness News spoke exclusively with Kelyn Allen and her attorney Lanease Fuller.

"This is absolutely ridiculous," Kelyn said. "This is dehumanizing."

"Had the tables been turned, I think the results would not have been the same," Fuller said.

Eyewitness News showed the video to noted defense attorney Steve Shellist, who is not connected to the case. He said the incident didn't warrant a class A assault charge because no one was injured.

Shellist said Neely striking the phone is considered offensive conduct and she should've been cited.

"If you're holding onto an object and someone strikes that object, they don't have to make contact with your body," Shellist said. "That would still be considered contact for the purposes of a class C violation, so, that's a no brainer."

Although there are no criminal charges, the Allens filed a lawsuit in Harris County District Court.

"Having read the lawsuit, I think two or three of the claims will probably be thrown out and probably won't survive, a couple of them I think will stick and then it will be up to a jury to decide what is that worth," Shellist said.

Eyewitness News reached out to Neely about the lawsuit. She said she hasn't received a copy.

She did send an email response saying in part, "I have been the recipient of malicious hate mail; I have had to vacate my house for periods of time, fearing for my security. Nonetheless, I will not be terrorized or harassed into paying people who appear determined to pursue a spiteful agenda. Litigation is not calculated to heal or smooth troubled waters. In my view, the best course for everyone concerned would be to move on with grace and forgiveness. I wish the family agreed."

The Allens allege they've suffered since the February incident as well. In the lawsuit, it states the family "were caused to suffer injuries, and to endure anxiety, sleepless nights, diarrhea and depression."

"The baby is still very jumpy around our pets," Allen said. "She's very jumpy around loud noises."

There's no dollar amount associated with the lawsuit. The city of Houston said anyone is allowed to use the esplanades in Broadacres, however, people aren't allowed to block a sidewalk for a photo shoot.

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