HOUSTON— A 20-year-old woman accused of murdering an Humble mom also had a sexual relationship with the victim's 16-year-old daughter, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office.
Rebecca Renee Keller was charged with felony murder and sexual assault of a child.
On July 16, Mary Ann Murphy was sound asleep at her home in the 8300 block of Poplar Ridge Lane when she was brutally attacked around 1 a.m. The 48-year-old woman screamed as the attacker plunged a knife into her several times while her daughter ran next door to a neighbor’s house. The daughter told the neighbor that someone had broken into their home and was hurting her mom, but by the time help arrived, Murphy was dead.
”She said her mom was screaming loud, and I did think I heard a scream but I didn’t know for sure,” Marcus Cox, the neighbor, said that morning. “I just thought it was some kids down the street.”
Cox and the other residents were frightened and shocked to learn such a brutal crime could happen in their quiet neighborhood. They were even more surprised after learning the daughter was actually a suspect.
Zein Imran Ahmed, a 21-year-old friend of the daughter, was the first person accused in the crime. Investigators said Ahmed confessed to going into Murphy’s bedroom, climbing on top of her and stabbing her when she woke up startled. Investigators said he also told them Murphy's daughter willingly let him in.
Murphy's daughter was then placed in the custody of the Harris County Juvenile Probation Office.
Ahmed later denied any wrongdoing and said he was coerced by interrogators. His family stands by his side. They said he was home playing video games when the murder was taking place.
“I’ve got testimony and video,” said Don Hecker, Ahmed’s attorney. “I’ve got a lot of stuff and he’s just not guilty.
Hecker blamed the 16-year-old girl for pointing a finger at Ahmed to protect someone else.
“It is either the desire of the girl to cover her tracks or to keep someone that she knows from being blamed,” he said.
Investigators were eventually led to Keller.
Keller allegedly was in some sort of relationship with the daughter and the two had sexual contact the day of the murder, according to investigators. Investigators did not specify, however, if the encounter was before or after the mom was killed.
Keller was arrested on October 29 and her bail was set at $80,000.
Ahmed, who is out on $100,000 bond, said he is relieved to hear about Keller's arrest.
“Really, I am happy right now because I can keep my family out of trouble, I can keep myself out of trouble, look for a job and still help my family out and help my mom out,” he said.
Ahmed admitted to being a friend of Murphy’s daughter and said he only listened to her complain about her problems, but had absolutely nothing to do with the murder.
He said he only confessed because he was terrified and did not know any better. Having the murder pinned on him, he says, has caused him a great deal of stress.
“My heart was beating fast and everything, I didn’t know what to do when the detectives came and got me, I was like ‘What the hell,'”Ahmed said.
The motive for the murder remains a mystery.