TAMPA, Fla. - During a hearing Wednesday, Hillsborough County Judge Catherine Catlin denied bond for the Lutz man accused of killing and dismembering a Pennsylvania woman and throwing her body parts in McKay Bay near downtown Tampa.
Kessler's public defender, Maria Dunkler, asked for a high bond – if there was to be one – or to add conditions to that bond, such as a GPS.
Judge Catlin said the total depravity that was evidenced in this crime led her to believe that there is a complete disregard for the safety of the community and there was no way she could protect that community if Kessler were to be released.
"A GPS Monitor would not protect anybody from this individual," Judge Catlin said. "It was a heinous act, committed in his home, where his child resides, and in fact, in the child’s bedroom. It’s a total lack of concern for human life."
The judge went on to say that the dismemberment of the body after the life was taken shows a complete disregard for the sanctity of a body after someone is deceased. She also said the bravado of Kessler to allegedly dispose of the body parts, in the middle of the day with kayakers presents, shows his lack of concern.
Kessler is charged with second-degree murder and abuse of a body after allegedly killing and dismembering a Pennsylvania woman in his home and then dumping those pieces into a downtown Tampa waterway. Fishermen found human remains on two separate days during November.
Prosecutors went over the gruesome details of their case to try and prevent bond from being granted and they were successful.
Kessler was not in attendance at the hearing. During his first appearance, Kessler was a no-show, refusing to leave his jail cell.
Kessler is charged with the murder of Stephanie Crone-Overholts. Investigators say he dismembered her body and dumped it in Tampa’s McKay Bay.
Stephanie Chron-Overholts (Courtesy: Tampa Police) Department
Stephanie was reported missing by her mother in Pennsylvania the same day human remains were discovered. Police quickly zeroed in on Kessler who admitted he let Stephanie stay with him, but he claimed he hadn't seen her since Nov. 5.
The story quickly unraveled, as blood was found in her car and all over his home, including on Kessler’s boots.
Court documents show several witnesses saw Kessler throwing black garbage bags into the water that made big splashes.
Kessler’s 8-year-old daughter told detectives that on Nov. 5, he and Stephanie had an argument over money and Kessler told her to leave.
Prosecutors say, on Nov. 7, surveillance video showed Kessler parking Stephanie’s car and walking away.
And on Nov. 11 and 12, two separate fishermen found human remains in the water, leading to the investigation and Kessler's arrest. During the bond hearing, an investigator with the Tampa Police Department told the court what the fishermen found.
"They were fishing, as they normally do in that area, and thought it first to be a mannequin leg, but as they got closer, realized it might actually belong to a human," said TPD Homicide Detective Matthew Kirkpatrick.
A leg tattoo bearing three hearts and three names – Greg, Sean, and Zach – helped lead investigators to identify Chron-Overholts as the victim.
An autopsy revealed Stephanie had injuries consistent with stab founds near her neck and defensive wounds on her hand.