Louisiana Man Receives Life Sentence for Strangling Girlfriend with Zip Tie

Harvey, Louisiana – In a harrowing case of domestic violence that concluded in tragedy, 60-year-old Dennis Sheppard received a life sentence for the murder of his 39-year-old girlfriend, Jyra Holmes. This sentence came after a Jefferson Parish jury found Sheppard guilty of second-degree murder, a verdict reached swiftly following a three-day trial.

The incident, which took place on November 2, 2020, occurred in the parking lot of Holmes’ apartment complex, located on the 1500 block of West Chelsea Road in Harvey. Prosecutors described a violent altercation where Sheppard used a plastic zip tie to strangle Holmes, a crime committed in front of several witnesses. According to reports, witnesses heard Sheppard’s chilling words post the act, “She wanted me dead; now she’s dead.”

Authorities found Holmes unresponsive and declared her deceased at the scene. The severity of the crime was underscored by the victim’s twin sister’s statement during the sentencing. Addressing Sheppard, she expressed her desire for him to receive the same mercy he showed her sister – none. Judge June Berry Darensburg echoed this sentiment, denouncing the act as unequivocally evil and acknowledging Holmes’ abruptly curtailed future.

Sheppard’s defense sought a lesser charge of manslaughter, arguing the crime was committed in a moment of passion and warranted a maximum sentence of 40 years instead. However, the jury, after only 36 minutes of deliberation, upheld the second-degree murder charge. Under Louisiana law, this conviction mandates life imprisonment without the possibilities of probation, parole, or sentence suspension.

The arrest came three days after the murder when Sheppard was apprehended by a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force at a Motel 6 in Mississippi. His denial of the murder charge, despite the overwhelming evidence and witness testimonies, marked the final chapter of this disturbing case, bringing a degree of closure to Holmes’ grieving family and community.