TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The man accused of killing and dismembering a woman then disposing her body parts in Tampa’s McKay Bay was indicted this week on a higher murder charge than the one he was originally arrested on last month.
Prosecutors said they obtained an indictment from a Hillsborough County grand jury Thursday, charging 69-year-old Robert Kessler with first-degree murder. Kessler is currently being held without bond until he stands trial, accused of killing and dismembering 47-year-old Stephanie Crone-Overholts.
When Kessler was arrested last month, he was charged with second-degree murder – acting with a “depraved mind” without regard for human life, according to the state attorney’s office. The state attorney’s office said it worked with Tampa police to present an indictment for a higher charge – first-degree pre-meditated murder – to a grand jury this week. The grand jury handed down the indictment on the upgraded charge Thursday afternoon.
A spokesperson for Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said the office has not determined yet whether it will seek the death penalty in Kessler’s case.
Tampa police arrested Kessler on Nov. 24, more than a week after body parts belonging to Crone-Overholts were found in McKay Bay.
Police said Kessler met Crone-Overholds at a local McDonalds and offered to let her stay with him. Detectives said they found several areas that appeared to be splattered with blood around his home, and suspected blood inside his car, and that the blood and DNA found matched that of Crone-Overholts.