Family says 15-year-old girl accused of killing parents was victim of frequent abuse

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A 15-year-old girl is now facing murder charges, accused of killing her parents, but some family members insist the teen is the victim here.

Kinderly Holmes, 37, and her boyfriend Brian Starr, 38, were found shot to death in their home back in April.

Daejona Holmes

Daejona Holmes faces two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and tampering with physical evidence. She will be tried as an adult.

But some family members say the 15-year-old should've been removed from her parents' home years ago.

“Whenever we needed her, she was always there for us,” LJ Brackson said.

Brackson said his sister-in-law, Kinderly Holmes, was a beautiful person and a good mom, who often babysat his children. But he said Kinderly was in an abusive relationship with Starr, Daejona's father.

“I personally hotlined him, knowing that abuse was taking place," Brackson said. "And my wife and I were prepared for any ramifications if she were removed from the home. We were prepared to take care of her and raise her."

LJ Brackson

But despite that hotline call, and neighbors repeatedly calling police on the couple, Daejona was never removed from the home.

“Now my sister-in-law is dead, who was also a victim of the abuse, and now my niece is being charged with her and her father`s murders. That`s gut-wrenching,” Brackson said.

Daejona Holmes was initially taken into juvenile detention. But now, she's facing second-degree murder charges as an adult.

Court records allege Daejona called 911 and said her family's home had been robbed and her parents shot.

But when she met with officers, she told them she was scared. She then insisted her father had shot her mother, so she grabbed the gun, then killed her dad in self-defense.

“So to see now that she`s being portrayed as some criminal mastermind or whatever they`re trying to make her out to be, it`s kind of appalling to me,” Brackson said.

Investigators say they found drawings in Daejona's backpack with a stick figure labeled "me," who was holding a gun, pointed at another stick figure labeled "dad.” Police also got a warrant to look through her phone and found web searches for "scary movies where kids kill parent."

But family members insist this was a scared child who is not a violent killer.

“We were never scared of her being with my kids. She was an awesome babysitter. We loved the girl, so there was never any type of concern. She never had any violent behavior problems,” Brackson said.

He said if police and the state's Family Support Division protected Daejona, none of this would've happened.

“The system's more than failed her. You can consider them not taking her out of the house as failing her. But now, my niece is an orphan. They`re re-victimizing her,” Brackson said.

The family believes if this were truly a pre-meditated murder, Daejona would be charged with first-degree, not second-degree murder.

Right now, Daejona Holmes is being held on a $150,000 bond in the Jackson County jail, awaiting her day in court.