Evidence of blood, clothing offered in Holland murder trial

January 14, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County prosecutor gave a jury a long list of evidence yesterday -- including fingerprints, blood samples, /^ clothing and stolen merchandise -- that she says links David L. Holland to the killing of his ex-wife, whom he met while she was a prison volunteer and he was doing time for rape and robbery.

In opening statements in David Holland's murder trial, Assistant State's Attorney Robin Coffin said that when police found Francesca A. Holland's strangled body in the trunk of her car outside David Holland's Essex home in February, they also found his fingerprints and a hat belonging to her ex-husband in the car.

Blood taken from a coat he wore also is likely Francesca Holland's, Coffin said. She said police discovered that serial numbers on owners' manuals found in the car for a videocassette recorder and stereo matched those on equipment purchased by Francesca Holland -- and pawned by her ex-husband just after her death.

Also, a glove was found in the car that matched a glove belonging to David Holland's live-in girlfriend, Coffin said. The girlfriend, Monica Henson, told police she had last seen both gloves in the pocket of her coat that she said David Holland had worn about the time of the killing.

Yesterday, the manager of the Pikesville apartment complex where Francesca Holland lived testified that after the Hollands divorced, Mrs. Holland had the locks on her apartment changed twice and tried to have her ex-husband's name removed from the lease.

David Holland, 40, charged with first-degree murder, is also charged with robbery in the theft of his ex-wife's videocassette recorder, portable stereo, vacuum cleaner and Honda Civic. His trial, which is being presided over by Circuit Judge John G. Turnbull II, is expected to last at least a week.

David Holland's lawyer, Jerome M. Levine, told the jury that the prosecution's case against his client "is a circumstantial case."

He noted, "No one saw him drive her car, no one saw him in her home, no one saw him kill her.

"The state is making great leaps to link the evidence," he said, raising questions about the accuracy of blood tests by a private laboratory that connected the blood from the coat David Holland wore to his ex-wife.

He also noted that police never found the keys to Francesca Holland's Honda Civic, even though they carefully searched David Holland's home.

Levine also told the jury that although mud was found on Francesca Holland's body -- and in her car -- no mud was found in David Holland's home when police searched it.

The fact that his client pawned his ex-wife's belongings without her permission "doesn't mean they were taken at the time of her death."

Pub Date: 1/14/98

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