Second defendant sentenced in murder of pregnant Abilene woman

The second of three people who admitted to killing a pregnant Abilene woman in August 2019 was sentenced Friday to 50 years confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Casey Kennedy was handed the prison sentence for a murder charge by Judge Thomas Wheeler in 350th District Court. 

The sentence was part of a plea agreement for Kennedy, who along with Alexander Christopher Lopez and Courtney Dawn Whitley, entered open pleas in the same courtroom in August to a charge of murder in the death of Kelly Holder.

They also had faced an additional murder charge in the death of Holder’s fetus. 

Whitley was sentenced Oct. 29 to 50 years in the TDCJ system. A Nov. 12 sentencing hearing for Lopez is being rescheduled.

Police found Holder unresponsive Aug. 3, 2019, in the 1700 block of South Fifth Street. She and the fetus were pronounced dead at a hospital. 

An autopsy showed that Holder was about six weeks pregnant when she died of traumatic blunt force injuries and asphyxiation, and that an object had been forced in her rectum, according to court documents.

A hospital physician told officers that Holder had suffered “an extensive beating,” the documents said. 

After initially denying involvement in Holder’s death, “all three suspects admitted they were angry with Holder” because they thought she recently caused Whitley to suffer a miscarriage, the documents said. They also believed that she was allowing men to enter the house while everyone was sleeping so they could sexually assault Kennedy and Whitley.

Court documents state that during an Aug. 2, 2019, confrontation with Holder, Kennedy and Whitley kicked the pregnant woman in the chest and pelvis and Lopez in her torso — each doing so multiple times.

Whitley also said she “bounced up and down” on Holder’s torso.

The women told investigators they wanted Holder to “feel the pain of a miscarriage,” the documents said.

Each defendant also admitted to strangling Holder during the assault, the documents said.

Part of Kennedy’s plea agreement also included dismissing an unrelated charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child. 

More:One of three guilty in pregnant woman’s beating death sentenced to 50 years

More:3 people enter guilty pleas in 2019 death of pregnant Abilene woman

Casey Kennedy, Alexander Lopez and Courtney Whitley Lopez.

Laura Gutschke is a general assignment reporter and food columnist and manages online content for the Reporter-News.  If you appreciate locally driven news, you can support local journalists with a digital subscription to ReporterNews.com. 

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