Man gets life in prison for killing online date

January 11, 2012 7:47:43 AM PST
Prosecutors say a West Texas man who killed a woman he had met online must serve life in prison without parole.

Dustin Kendrick of Lubbock pleaded guilty Tuesday to capital murder in a plea agreement allowing the 35-year-old man to avoid a possible death penalty.

Investigators say Kendrick met 32-year-old Tori Pennington in April 2010 through an online dating service. Messages on Pennington's cell phone helped lead to Kendrick, who was arrested at his mother's Lubbock home hours after the slaying.

Police believe Pennington was strangled as Kendrick tried to rape her at her Lubbock apartment, after she put her children to bed.

Pennington's 12-year-old son found her body. Prosecutors say the woman's family did not want the boy to have to testify.

Pennington's father has custody of her three sons.