Denison man who beat girlfriend to death gets life for drug charge

SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) - A Denison man who admitted he choked and assaulted his girlfriend a day before she was found dead from homicidal violence was sentenced to life in prison by a Grayson County jury Wednesday on a felony drug charge.

Grayson County District Attorney Brett Smith said John Francis Kennedy, 58, was found guilty of possession of a controlled substance between 4-200 grams following a jury trial Monday in 59th District Court.

Smith said Denison police received several tips in 2018 that Kennedy was distributing heroin and other illegal drugs. In August, police set up an undercover buy in which Kennedy sold heroin to an informant. In a search of Kennedy’s home, officers located 24 grams of meth and heroin and with scales and other paraphernalia.

Evidence was presented during the punishment phase that showed Kennedy had an extensive criminal history of assaults and felony convictions including multiple DWIs, burglary, and drug possession.

Assistant District Attorney Britton Brooks presented evidence during the punishment phase of the trial that Kennedy admitted to choking and assaulting his girlfriend, Rhonda Jordan, 53, on January 5, 2018, in Sherman. She was found dead the next morning from homicidal violence.

According to a police report, Jordan was taken to Wilson N. Jones Hospital on the morning of Jan. 6. Officers said Kennedy admitted that he had taken Jordan to the hospital and that he had called police to report her injuries after he beat her over an argument about money.
Due to the severity of Jordan's injuries, she was taken from Wilson N. Jones Hospital to Plano Medical Center, where she died of brain injuries five days later.

Neighbors we spoke to in the days following the crime were upset that Kennedy had been allowed to post bond a day after his arrest.

“This defendant is a career criminal whose punishment, based on prior convictions, was 25 years to Life in prison,” Brooks said of the jury’s decision to sentence Kennedy to life in prison. “ We were able to show the jury, that in addition to dealing drugs, he is also a violent man.”

Prosecutors say the assault case that led to Jordan's death remains open.