Dennis Sheppard guilty of murdering girlfriend by using zip tie to strangle her

A Jefferson Parish jury has convicted Dennis Sheppard of murdering his girlfriend by using a plastic zip tie around her neck to strangle her.

Sheppard, 60, of Harvey, is guilty as charged of the second-degree murder of Jyra Holmes, the jury unanimously decided during 36 minutes of deliberation on Thursday (Sept. 28).

He killed Holmes, 39, on Nov. 2, 2020, during a domestic dispute outside her apartment the 1500 block of Chelsea Road in Harvey. He put the zip tie around her neck and pushed her to the ground, witnesses told detectives.

“She wanted me dead; now she’s dead,” Sheppard said after killing Holmes, according to two witnesses.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived to find her lifeless body in the driveway with a zip tie around her neck.

A U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force located and arrested Sheppard three days later in Bay St. Louis, Miss.

Through his public defender, Sheppard denied committing a second-degree murder. Rather, the defense attorney asserted that at best, Sheppard was guilty of manslaughter, a lesser homicide committed in the heat of passion that carries a maximum of 40 years in prison.

Judge June Berry Darensburg of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Sheppard on Oct. 30. Second-degree murder carries a mandatory punishment of life in prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Assistant District Attorneys Kristen Landrieu and Carolyn Chkautovich prosecuted the case.