Man gets 20 years for Wilton killing — (Kennebec Journal)

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Kennebec Journal (Augusta, ME)

August 4, 2001

Author: BETTY JESPERSEN, Staff Writer

[]FARMINGTON – Steven D. Holloway, who bludgeoned an elderly Wilton man in his recliner and then shot him to death three years ago, was sent to prison Friday for 20 years by a Superior Court judge.

Under a plea-bargain agreement, charges against Holloway, 38, were dropped from murder to manslaughter, and he was sentenced by Justice S. Kirk Studstrup to 35 years – with 15 years suspended – and six years of probation upon release.

Holloway, who has no known address, wearing a Pink Floyd rock-band T-shirt, showed no emotion as he stood in the hot Franklin County courtroom and heard Studstrup impose his sentence.

Nor did Holloway react when family members of the victim, Albert “Sonny” Parker Jr., spoke of their anguish over the brutal death.

“Steven Holloway not only took my father-in-law, but also has made life a living hell for all of us,” Joan Parker said.

Daughter-in-law Cindy Parker called Holloway an “animal” for taking a life “for the greed of money that he could have borrowed if he had asked Sonny.

“… In our hearts, we know it was murder, and so does this animal.”

When Studstrup asked Holloway if he had anything to say, the defendant only criticized the way the case was handled by the state police and Attorney General’s Office.

He did not address the family or show remorse.

Holloway was originally charged with murder after having confessed during a state police interview to killing Parker.

But in 1999, through his attorney, David Sanders of Livermore Falls, he filed a motion to have the confession and other evidence suppressed. The motion was denied.

Holloway then entered a conditional guilty plea pending an appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, and was sentenced to serve 30 years in prison.

Last year, the high court overturned the conviction and the sentence, saying state police went too far in interviewing Holloway without informing him of his rights to remain silent and have an attorney present, known as the Miranda warning.

Based on that ruling, Holloway withdrew his guilty plea.

When the police interview was reviewed in light of the high court’s decision, most of Holloway’s comments, including a confession, became inadmissible as evidence.

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese said Parker’s body was found Jan. 13, 1998, in a pool of blood in his home, beaten with a hatchet while seated in his recliner and then dragged across the room and shot.

Parker, who carried large amounts of cash on him and had just cashed a $704 Social Security check, had nothing but a $5 Canadian bill in his wallet, she said.

Marchese said Holloway had spent the month before in an alcohol-detoxification center in Skowhegan and, on his release Jan. 13, hitchhiked to Waterville, hoping to enter another program at MaineGeneral Hospital, but was “screened out.”

Witnesses placed Holloway, who was carrying a distinctive bright-pink duffel bag, in the area of the crime, both before the slaying and afterwards, when he was given a ride to a Farmington motel.

Police, tipped off that he could be involved in the killing, found him at the Colonial Valley Motel and questioned him there.

During the interview, Holloway initially denied committing the crime, and then “changed his story,” Marchese said, and admitted being at Parker’s house, but did not go inside.

The state also had testimony from a former cell mate who claimed Holloway told him he had gone to Parker’s home to borrow money.

Holloway, in response to Marchese’s summary, said she was “certainly off base” and that his alleged comments while in jail could never be proven.

“The state has spent hundreds of man hours on this case, and they had to go crawling like snakes to get rats to make statements against me. That is the way they operate,” he told Studstrup.

Holloway also claims he was drunk during the police interview and had a 2.7 blood-alcohol level and that the interview should not have been continued under those conditions.

“This plea represents a drop down from murder, based on what the state thought it could prove. In the final analysis, Holloway will serve a period of time and will have a fair amount of time hanging over his head,” Marchese said.

Studstrup said he took into consideration that Holloway, who has a history of depression and is on medication, had been released from one hospital and attempted to enter another before committing the crime.

“Also, he has stepped forward to accept responsibility for a criminal act and has recognized the hardship he has caused the family,” the judge said.

After the hearing, Sanders said he understands the anger of the victim’s family, but constitutional safeguards, such as the Miranda warning, have to be protected.

“Steve has always acknowledged he did it, but in this system of justice, it is the state’s burden to prove his guilt,” Sanders said.

“No one wants to go to a system that does not have those rights, and we have to remind ourselves what those rights are.”

To reach Betty Jespersen    Phone: 778-6991     jespersen@mainewest.com

Record Number:  10E13279CB45D188