Man Pleads Guilty to Murder and Sexual Assault on Morning of Trial

by | Jul 18, 2023 | Conviction Alert

Bibb County, GA  – On the morning his murder trial was to begin, 58-year-old Kenny Obryan Whitehead plead Guilty to all charges in lieu of trial related to the murder of Teresa Ponder, 49 years old. Whitehead was charged with Malice Murder, Rape and Necrophilia.

The murder occurred at the Daybreak Ministry on Walnut Street in Macon, Georgia. Ponder was an unhoused person, frequently living in the streets. She felt safer by sleeping on the steps of the Daybreak Ministry where there were security cameras that monitored the area. On the evening of May 17, 2020, Ponder walked up the front steps of the Daybreak and took her usual place to sleep for the night.

Video surveillance showed that Whitehead followed her to that location and initiated an assault on her. Ponder struggled with Whitehead, resisting the sexual attack. During the struggle, Ponder was asphyxiated. She was sexually assaulted by Whitehead both before and after her death. Bibb County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the scene where Whitehead was caught actively sexually assaulting the body of Ponder. He was immediately taken into custody.

DNA evidence recovered from Ponder’s body definitively identified Whitehead as the sexual assailant. Whitehead was sentenced to Life for Malice Murder, Life on the Rape and 10 years concurrently on the Necrophilia charge.  Whitehead will not be eligible for parole consideration until he has served 30 years in prison.

“This is a tragic case, illuminating the risks of people who are unhoused,” said Anita Howard, Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney. “Thanks to the Bibb County Sheriff’s Deputies and the prosecution team on this case, Mr. Whitehead won’t be on the streets hurting anyone again.”

Case Update: Caleb Hooten

Case Update: Caleb Hooten

Case Update: Caleb Hooten On Tuesday, October 10, 2023, Caleb Hooten was shot by a Peach County Deputy. That matter was investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and brought to the Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office in January 2024 for review....

Indictment Alert: Grand Jury February 5, 2024

Indictment Alert: Grand Jury February 5, 2024

A new Grand Jury was sworn in on February 5, 2024. After orientation, the Grand Jury immediately began to consider cases. The Grand Jury considered 41 cases, including: 3 murder cases, 9 aggravated assault cases, 1 aggravated battery case, 1 serious injury by vehicle...

Staying Safe as a Retiree Presentation

Staying Safe as a Retiree Presentation

Staying Safe as a Retiree District Attorney Anita Howard Macon Judicial Circuit Presentation to: Bibb County Retired Educators Association January 10, 2024 View the entire presentation here: Retiree Safety Take Care of Your Assets Be Aware of Scams Don’t Be Afraid to...

DA Howard Announces 2024 Focus: #HowardEncouragingAction

DA Howard Announces 2024 Focus: #HowardEncouragingAction

Each year, DA Howard selects a hashtag that symbolizes the collective effort needed to enhance our community and make it a better and safer place. In 2021, we celebrated #ChangingTheFaceOfJustice, with DA Howard’s first year as the first female, African-American...

Response to Media Inquiry

Response to Media Inquiry

On Tuesday, December 12, 2023, I sent a letter to the chairman of the Macon Water Authority requesting the investigative report developed by David Cooke. Ideally, this report whether complete or not, should have been sent to the sheriff and me immediately so we could...