Roger Earl Holland convicted for killing his wife, unborn child
Story updated at 9:54 a.m. Dec. 17, 2013
A 37-year-old Apple Valley man was found guilty of two counts each of first- and second-degree murder in the death of his wife and her unborn child on March 7, 2013.
Roger Earl Holland was found guilty of the same four charges that he was indicted for in April stemming from the death of Margorie Ann Holland, 37, and her unborn child.
The trial lasted two weeks and the jury deliberated for approximately 10 hours, delivering a verdict at about 1 a.m. today.
“We are pleased to have brought Roger Holland to justice for this senseless and violent crime that took the lives of Margorie Holland and her unborn child,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said. “Our deep sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Marjorie Holland for their great loss.”
The jury was faced with deciding if Roger Holland strangled his wife to death or that Margorie Holland died after she fell down the stairs at their townhome on 157th Street West. The defense also stated that someone else could have entered the home and strangled Margorie Holland.
The defense said Roger Holland returned home in the morning after going out to get breakfast and found his wife face down on the floor wrapped in a blanket and non-responsive at the bottom of a staircase inside their townhome. He then called 911 to report she was unresponsive.
Upon arrival of medical personnel, Margorie Holland’s body was cool to the touch, she was not breathing and had no heartbeat, according to the criminal complaint. Resuscitation efforts were attempted and she was transported to Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville where she and her unborn child were officially declared dead. She was approximately 15 weeks pregnant.
The prosecution said the medical examiner assigned to the case determined that Margorie Holland died by strangulation.
Prosecutors said medical personnel found numerous injuries on Margorie Holland’s body, including bruising and abrasions on her head, face, hands, legs, ankles and feet.
Prosecutors also presented that Roger Holland had visible scratches on the left side of his face and neck, and were signs of a struggle. The defense attributed the scratches to rough sex, according to the Pioneer Press.
Prosecutors also presented the Hollands’ cellphone records with a large number of text messages, which contained numerous arguments between the couple in the weeks prior to March 7 and some texts that referenced concerns about their financial problems.
According to the criminal complaint, on March 6, Margorie Holland told her husband that she intended to divorce him, and in a text sent 10 minutes earlier she told him that she intended to report him to authorities “first thing in the morning” for stealing her credit cards.
Roger and Margorie Holland had been married for approximately a year and a half and had been dating for some time before their marriage. Both were members of the Texas National Guard. They had moved into their Apple Valley residence in December 2012.
Backstrom said in a press release that under Minnesota law, to convict someone of first- and second-degree murder of an unborn child, it is not necessary for a jury to find that a person had intent to kill the unborn child, or did so with premeditation, provided the defendant intended to kill the unborn child’s mother and did so with premeditation.
The first-degree murder conviction will be appealed automatically to the state Supreme Court under Minnesota law, according to the Pioneer Press.
Backstrom thanked the Apple Valley Police Department, the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension which assisted in the investigation of this case. Backstrom praised chief deputy Phil Prokopowicz for his outstanding work prosecuting this difficult case.
Holland’s sentencing is set today at 1 p.m. in Hastings.