Abilene man allegedly took murder victim's items to pawn

Charles Edward Newman, 36, of Abilene, was named during May 2016 as a "person of interest" in connection with the death of 27-year-old Kendra Keppler. He was arrested on an unrelated charged after attempting to use Keppler's identification information to obtain $200 from her bank account.Story ->

ABILENE, Texas - Charles Newman was formally charged with the murder of Kendra Keppler on Friday, and court documents shine a light on his actions before and after police found her body on May 18.

According to a warrant, police interviewed a friend of Keppler's who said she last saw her with the 36-year-old Newman sometime between May 11 and May 14.

The friend told police Keppler, 27, displayed a gun that she had bought for her protection. The friend said Keppler was going to take Newman to a parole meeting, but she never returned.

Police have not said when they believe Keppler was killed.

However, a friend of Newman's told police that Newman had said on May 17 that he "killed her." The friend noticed that Newman had been driving Keppler's car since at least May 16. He told the friend that he had been to Keppler's house to take items to pawn, and that "her body was still where he had left her," according to the warrant.

Court documents say the friend then told police Newman had said "just wait, it's all fixing to blow up."

On May 18, according to the warrant, the friend received a text message from Newman saying his friend had been found.

Police say Keppler had been shot in the head and a spent casing was found on the floor near a bed.

Newman was arrested May 19 and had been held in the Taylor County Jail on a fraud charge. He was charged after police discovered – a day after Keppler's body was found – that he had used Keppler's identification information to obtain $200 from her bank account and that he was in possession of Keppler's vehicle.

He was charged with murder in addition to fraud. His bonds total $600,000.

Newman's wife, Rachell, was also arrested after she allegedly called a local bank and claimed to be Keppler in order to be issued a check for $200.

"We do not believe his wife, Rachell Newman, was involved in the death but was involved in the fraudulent transaction on Keppler's bank account," Sgt. Lynn Beard with the Abilene Police Department said recently.

Newman remained in Taylor County Jail on Monday. His bond was set at $500,000 on the murder charge.

He had previously been named a "person of interest" in the case.