Abilene man officially charged with murder of Kendra Keppler


ABILENE, Texas - Charles Newman, who recently was named a "person of interest" in the murder of Kendra Keppler, was formally charged with murder Friday.

Keppler, 27, was found May 18 at her home in the 3900 block of Whittier Street in south Abilene.

"The bond on the murder warrant was set at $500,000," Sgt. Lynn Beard said in a social media message.

Newman has been held in 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 also told his wife, 28-year-old Rachell Newman, that he had shot someone around the time of Keppler's death.

According to a search warrant for the clothes Newman was wearing when he was arrested, which was unsealed and obtained by KTXS Thursday, Newman's wife, Rachell Newman, told police on May 20 that he said he had shot someone in the head several days before.

The warrant says police believe Charles was "present at the time of Keppler's murder and physical evidence exists on his clothing worn at the time of the murder."

According to the search warrant, she had a gunshot wound to her head and her body "was decomposing and had been there several days."

Newman was arrested May 19 after police said he used Keppler's identification information to obtain $200 from her bank account. Police also found Keppler's missing vehicle at his house, and he admitted to taking it several days before.

When he was questioned, Newman told police he was in Keppler's house on May 18 and saw her corpse but did not call police as required by law.

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.

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