Balto. Co. man is found guilty in murder of his ex-wife Her body was found in car parked at his apartment

January 17, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County jury convicted David L. Holland yesterday of murdering his ex-wife, after hearing evidence that Francesca Holland's car was found parked outside his house in February with his fingerprints, hat and glove, and her strangled body in the trunk.

A jury deliberated for three hours before convicting Holland of first-degree murder and of robbery for stealing his ex-wife's videocassette recorder, portable stereo, vacuum cleaner and Honda Civic.

Prosecutor Robin Coffin said the case involved "a tremendous amount of evidence because it was circumstantial. You needed the many pieces to put together the whole puzzle."

David and Francesca A. Holland met while she was a prison volunteer and he was serving a sentence for rape and robbery. They married in 1986 while he was in prison and separated in 1994, a year after his release.

David Holland, 40, did not take the witness stand. He denied killing his wife when police came to his Essex home last year.

During the trial, Coffin and Assistant State's Attorney Michael Pate presented the jury with boxes of evidence.

They showed the jury Francesca Holland's briefcase, which was found in a trash bin near her Pikesville apartment complex Feb. 5, the day she disappeared, along with the hat, found in her car, that David Holland was last seen wearing. The body of Francesca Holland, 58, was found that day in the trunk of her car parked outside her ex-husband's Essex apartment.

Police found that serial numbers on owners' manuals found in the car matched those for a videocassette recorder and stereo purchased by Francesca Holland and pawned by David Holland just after the murder.

David Holland's lawyer, Jerome M. Levine, called the case circumstantial because "no one saw him drive her car, no one saw him in her home, no one saw him kill her."

Yesterday, Levine said he was surprised that the jury convicted David Holland on the robbery charges, saying, "There was never any evidence that the property was stolen."

He said he will appeal the conviction and ask for a new trial.

Holland's sentencing is scheduled for March 12.

Francesca Holland's family declined to comment.

Coffin said yesterday that when she told Francesca Holland's mother, Lillian DeHart, of the verdict, "she burst out crying. But she still expressed sorrow for the defendant."

Pub Date: 1/17/98

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