Child Killer Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole

Child Killer Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole

A Houston man was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole late Monday for killing his 8-year-old stepson in 2020, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.

“Our children are our most vulnerable victims,” Ogg said. “And even though we can’t bring back little Kendrick Lee, at least we can ensure that his killer never again breathes free air.”

Brian Ward Coulter, 34, was found guilty of capital murder by a judge after a five-day bench trial that began last week. He was automatically sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing his wife’s 8-year-old son, Kendrick Lee, at their west Houston apartment.

The case rocked Houston when Coulter was arrested in 2021 because he and his wife had moved to a different apartment but left the body to decompose in their former apartment, where Coulter’s wife’s other young children lived.

Kendrick’s body, covered with a blue blanket, lay in the apartment for over a year while his siblings were forced to stay there as the body decomposed.

Two siblings testified during the trial that they saw Coulter repeatedly beat Kendrick when he was alive. The boy died in late 2020 after Coulter beat him severely. Then Coulter covered the body, and he and his wife moved to a different apartment while the boy’s siblings were forced to stay behind.

A year later, one of the siblings called police about the situation. Only the boy’s skeletal remains were found when police arrived at the home in October 2021.

After hearing all of the evidence, including testimony from two siblings about what happened, state District Judge Kelli Johnson handed down a guilty verdict.

Assistant District Attorneys Celeste Byrom, who is also the division chief of Victim Services of the DA’s Office, and Edward A. Appelbaum, who is a chief assigned to the DA’s Child Fatality Section, prosecuted Coulter.

“The death of Kendrick Lee was so tragic, and because of the fact that for so long there was no one to speak up for him, we felt like we had a duty to be his voice,” Byrom said. “It was important that we were able to secure justice for him.”

Appelbaum agreed and said the facts of the case shock the conscience.

“No matter who you are, if you’re a human being, the facts of this case would shake you to the core,” he said. “It’s a horrific act.”

Charges are still pending against Coulter’s wife. If convicted, she faces a maximum punishment of life in prison.