Woman Burns Down Own Home — (The Nashua Telegraph)

Original article no longer available

The Nashua Telegraph (NH)

April 8, 2000

Author: DAVID BROOKS, Telegraph Staff

MILFORD — Monica Holt, the Lyndeborough woman charged with burning down her own home Dec. 1 in that town’s biggest fire in decades, is facing a new charge that she offered $2,500 last year to have her husband’s former wife beaten up or killed. The allegation is the most serious of seven new charges leveled against Holt at a Milford District Court arraignment Friday, including witness tampering and four charges of attempting to obtain drugs with forged prescriptions.
Holt, 41, was indicted in February on separate charges of arson and insurance fraud in connection with the Dec. 1, 1999, fire that destroyed the two-century-old Forest Road home in which she and her family lived. She also was indicted on two charges of receiving stolen property. Holt had just been released on bail when she was brought back to court.  The Friday charges added $100,000 to the $85,000 bail. She is now being held at the Hillsborough County House of Corrections in Manchester and is scheduled for a probable cause hearing on the new charges April 21 at Milford District Court. Assistant County Attorney Paul McDonough said further charges may be brought against Holt. “The investigation is ongoing,” he said. Milford District Court Judge Michael Ryan, writing that “there is no condition . . . that will assure that (Holt) will not pose a danger to the safety of herself, others or the community,” denied a request that she be released on personal recognizance. Police allege that in February or March of 1999, Holt offered $2,500 to Wilfred Lorette to “beat up” or murder Nancy-Jo Holt, the former wife of her husband, Walter Holt, and also “told (Lorette) she would pay him $2,500 to kill Nancy-Jo Holt,” according to court documents.
Solicitation to commit murder and solicitation to commit first-degree assault are both Class A felonies, punishable by 7½ to 15 years in prison.  Nancy-Jo Holt died unexpectedly Nov. 13, 1999, of a heart attack while sitting in her car in a parking lot at Granite State Plaza in Milford. After Monica Holt was first arrested, officials re-examined that death but found no evidence to indicate it was not a natural death.  Holt’s body was cremated after an initial autopsy was performed last November. The Friday charges also include an allegation that on Dec. 16 in Wilton, Monica Holt “instructed a witness who was going to be interviewed by state police to withhold information and inform falsely.” It did not name the alleged witness. This is the second charge of witness tampering against Holt in regards to investigations into the fire. Witness tampering is a Class B felony, punishable by 3½ to seven years in prison.
Police also charged that in the weeks after the Dec. 1 fire, Holt attempted to get various amounts of the prescription drugs Percocet, Trazodone and Zoloft from the Milford Rite Aid by using altered prescriptions. Percocet is a high-priced, highly addictive pain reliever for moderate to severe pain.  Trazodone and Zoloft are both antidepressants designed to increase the levels of the mood-enhancing serotonin available to the brain. Each prescription drug allegation is a Class A misdemeanor. The colonial farmhouse destroyed by the fire is owned by a trust established for Walter Holt’s father, who died in 1998. The ownership was to be transferred to Walter Holt this year. It has been in the Holt family since 1904, when it was bought by Walter Holt’s great-grandfather. Officials say the fire caused at least $400,000 worth of damage to the house and property within it. * * * David Brooks can be reached at 249-3336 or by e-mail at brooksd@telegraph-nh.com. Staff reporter Brad Leighton contributed to this story. Copyright 2000, 2004 The Telegraph, Nashua, N.H. All Rights Reserved. Record Number:  1070DADD112E9629