Houston Man Convicted of Capital Murder in Stepson’s Death, Sentenced to Life in Prison

Houston Man Convicted of Capital Murder in Stepson’s Death, Sentenced to Life in Prison
Brian Ward Coulter

Brian Ward Coulter, 34, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole for the killing of his 8-year-old stepson, Kendrick Lee, in 2020. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced the verdict late Monday, April 15, 2024.

“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.”

Victim: Kendrick Lee

Coulter’s trial, which lasted five days, concluded with a guilty verdict from the judge in a bench trial. The conviction stemmed from Coulter’s severe beating of Kendrick, resulting in the child’s death. Shockingly, Coulter and his wife relocated to another apartment, leaving Kendrick’s body to decompose in their former residence where his siblings 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.

Testimony from Kendrick’s siblings revealed repeated abuse by Coulter prior to the fatal incident. Despite the harrowing circumstances, it wasn’t until one of the siblings alerted authorities a year later that the truth came to light. Police discovered Kendrick’s skeletal remains in October 2021.

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.