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An Abilene, Texas woman received a 50-year prison sentence on Friday after pleading guilty to the brutal beating of her roommate in 2019.
Casey Kennedy, 28, pleaded guilty in August alongside two co-defendants, Alexander Christopher Lopez, 30, and Courtney Whitley, 27, for the murder of their pregnant roommate, Kelly Holder, 24, in August 2019, according to local news outlet KRBC/KTAB. Whitley received a 50-year sentence on Nov. 1, according to the station; Lopez's sentencing hearing had yet to be scheduled.
The capital murder charges and another charge of murder in the death of Holder's 6-week-old fetus were dropped in exchange the trio's guilty pleas, according to the Abilene Reporter News.
Under the plea deal, prosecutors also agreed to drop two additional aggravated child abuse charges Kennedy faced stemming from an incident in 2018, according to the News Reporter and Texas court records.
Holder was found unresponsive by police in the foursome's shared home on Aug. 3, 2019, according to KRBC/KTAB, and both she and her fetus were pronounced dead at the hospital. Lopez and Kennedy initially told police that they had gone for a walk and found Holder unresponsive in the bathtub upon their return; Whitley was found "hiding" in the home, according to court records reviewed by the Reporter News.
Eventually, all three admitted to taking part in the brutal beating, strangling and sexual assault of Holder.
The three roommates allegedly told police that they had somehow come to believe Holder had caused Whitley to recently miscarry and, having discovered Holder was pregnant, "wanted her to feel the pain of a miscarriage" according to KRBC/KTAC. They also told police that they'd come to believe that Holder was somehow allowing strange men to come into the house while the others were sleeping for the purposes of raping Kennedy and Whitley.
It is unclear from court documents how the three arrived at these conclusions.
On Aug. 2, police say, the trio confronted Holder and became even angrier when she denied the accusations that she'd somehow caused Whitley's miscarriage or was setting her female roommates up to be raped by strange men. The three then took turns punching and kicking Holder in the torso and abdomen, after which Whitley allegedly told police that she "bounced up and down" on Holder's torso. The three then also took turns strangling Holder.
Then, according to KRBC/KTAB, Lopez told the two women to treat Holder "as if she was in prison" and handed Kennedy a "wooden rod." Kennedy handed the rod to Whitley, who sodomized Holder with it.
A doctor at the hospital told police that Holder had been subjected to an "extensive beating." Her cause of death was traumatic blunt force injuries and asphyxiation, and the medical examiner confirmed that a "large object" had been "forced into her rectum." Her fetus showed no abnormalities and it was determined that it died as a result of the death of Holder.
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