Murder suspect Anthony Kennedy strangled girlfriend in 2019, court records show

Ohio is the only U.S. state where strangulation is not a felony crime.
Anthony Kennedy was arrested in 2019 following a domestic violence incident where Cleveland...
Anthony Kennedy was arrested in 2019 following a domestic violence incident where Cleveland Police said he strangled his girlfriend.(WOIO)
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 9:44 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - 19 Investigates has uncovered disturbing new details about the Cleveland man accused of murdering his girlfriend and burying her body in Pennsylvania.

Anthony M. Kennedy was arrested in 2019 for strangling his then-girlfriend during a violent incident outside of the couple’s home, according to court records.

Kennedy, 43, is charged with aggravated murder for the shooting death of 23-year-old Adrianna Taylor, whose body was discovered Thanksgiving night in the backyard of a home in Wilkinsburg, a suburb of Pittsburgh.

He turned himself in to the Allegheny County Police Department on Wednesday afternoon.

According to police, Kennedy and Taylor lived together in home on West 98th Street in Cleveland.

Adrianna K. Taylor
Adrianna K. Taylor(WOIO)

Court records show Kennedy was living in that same home in March 2019 when he was arrested for domestic violence. Police said he attacked his girlfriend after she pulled her vehicle into their driveway.

The 2019 arrest warrant states Kennedy climbed into the woman’s vehicle and started “strangling her with both hands on her neck.” The victim was “unable to yell for help, because she could not breathe.”

According to the warrant, Kennedy also “put his forearm against her throat and began using his body weigh to strangle her again.”

Detectives noted the woman had visible scratches on her neck, and that Kennedy had also pulled his girlfriend’s hair, “pulling out strands of her dreadlocks.”

19 Investigates first reported Monday that Kennedy was charged with domestic violence and unlawful restraint, which are both misdemeanor offenses.

Ohio is the only U.S. state where strangulation is not a felony crime.

Murder suspect Anthony Kennedy strangled girlfriend in 2019, court records show

Experts say strangulation is big red flag in domestic violence situations, and often foreshadows an escalating use of violence and homicidal intent.

According to the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, women who have been strangled by their partners are 750% more likely to be murdered than domestic violence victims who have never been strangled.

State lawmakers are currently pushing for tougher domestic violence laws in Ohio, including making strangulation a felony offense.

Kennedy’s 2019 arrest was labeled by Cleveland Municipal Court as a “high risk domestic violence” case, a designation given to offenders with prior domestic violence arrests or incidents that were especially violent.

Court records show his domestic violence charge, a first-degree misdemeanor, was later reduced to criminal mischief, a third-degree misdemeanor.

After pleading guilty in May 2019, Kennedy received a suspended jail sentence and was placed on community control supervision.

He was also ordered to enter the court’s Domestic Intervention, Education and Training Program, which gives domestic violence offenders an opportunity to “participate in a psychosocial education program in lieu of incarceration.”

According to the court’s website, offenders in the diversion program are required to attend 16 two-hour sessions that stress “non-violence, non-threatening behavior, respect, support and trust, accountability and honesty, sexual respect, partnership and negotiation, and fairness.”

Anthony Kennedy was taken into custody Wednesday in Pennsylvania.
Anthony Kennedy was taken into custody Wednesday in Pennsylvania.(Cuyahoga County Sheriff)

Last month, Kennedy was scheduled to go on trial for a felony weapons violation in Summit County. The trial was continued at the request of his defense attorney.

Court records show Kennedy was arrested in Oct. 2021 in Macedonia for OVI and improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle.

According to the indictment, he was in possession of Smith & Wesson M&P at the time of his arrest.

A warrant was issued on Sept. 20 after Kennedy failed to appear at a court hearing for the OVI and weapons charges. The warrant was recalled six days later and Kennedy’s $5,000 bond was continued.

As a condition of his bond, he is not allowed to possess any firearms.

Court records confirm Kennedy appeared for a hearing in his felony case on Nov. 15, two days after Adrianna Taylor was reported missing to Cleveland Police.

Taylor’s relatives said they had not heard from her since early October.

The 23-year-old’s body was recovered from the backyard of a home in the 800 block of Hill Avenue in Wilkinsburg on Nov. 24 after a neighbor tipped off police about suspicious activity at the residence, which was captured on surveillance video.

Taylor died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Office of the Allegheny County Medical Examiner. Her death was ruled a homicide.

Law enforcement sources told 19 Investigates her body was found inside of a tote bag which had been placed inside of a bigger construction bag.

The bags were found under concrete, which was still partially wet when investigators made the discovery.

Cleveland Police issued a warrant for Kennedy’s arrest last Friday, the day after Taylor’s body was found.

According to the warrant, the suspect’s sister “either currently or recently resided” at the Wilkinsburg home, and he had recently been seen in the backyard.

Kennedy was accompanied by an attorney when he surrendered to police in Pennsylvania on Wednesday afternoon.

Blaine Jones, a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, said he was first contacted by Kennedy on Tuesday.

Jones said the FBI informed him that there was a nationwide manhunt for his client.

“It’s always dangerous when you have a warrant, let alone a national manhunt for an arrest warrant like this, and it was Mr. Kennedy’s desire to turn himself in ASAP,” Jones said. “He did not want any type of harm to come to him or his family and, quite frankly, he wanted to face the charges.”

“I understand that there’s video out there,” Jones said. “I would ask everyone to patient, allow due process to play out.”

“I thought that it was commendable that he turned himself in. I mean, that’s a first positive step. It’s not like he’s on the run somewhere, he’s not going down the highway in a white Bronco,” Jones said, making a reference to the infamous 1994 police pursuit involving former NFL star O.J. Simpson, who was wanted for the murder of his wife.

Jones said Kennedy would be extradited to Cleveland, since police believe that is where Taylor was killed.