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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Terminally ill man will be tried for capital murder

8-11-2006 Alabama:
DOTHAN, Ala. A Dothan man who confessed to shooting and killing his neighbor could face the death penalty if convicted, but at a preliminary hearing yesterday it was revealed that the accused has a terminal illness.

57-year-old Joseph Michael Holly will be tried for capital murder for shooting Jim Layton Junior, on the night of July 11th with a shotgun.

A Dothan police investigator testified that Holly said he wanted to kill Layton because he believed Layton sexually molested his wife in 1999 or 2000.

The officer also testified that Holly told him he has terminal colon cancer. According to testimony, Holly and Layton were friends and co-workers.

Holly was not in court, but appeared by way of closed circuit television from the Houston County Jail.

The judge did not grant bail and no trial date was set. ..more.. by WTVM9

Accused Killer Pled Not Guilty
An accused killer pled not guilty to capital murder Tuesday in a Dothan courtroom.

Attorneys for 58-year-old Joseph Holly entered a plea of not guilty because of mental disease.

Holly is charged in the shooting death of 38-year-old James Layton, Jr.

Layton was killed by a shotgun blast as he opened the front door of his home on Saunders Road in July of last year.

Prosecutors claim Holly entered the house illegally by using a key hidden under a doormat.

A March 5 trial date has been set.

Holly is being held without bond in the Houston County Jail. ..more.. by WTVY

Jury Will Get to Hear Accused Killer’s Tape Confession
A Houston County jury will be allowed to hear an accused killer's taped confession to police.

Fifty-seven-year-old Joseph Holly is accused in the shooting death of 38-year-old James Layton, Jr.

Layton was killed by a shotgun blast when he entered his home on Saunders Road in July of last year.

Investigators say Holly admitted using a key hidden under a doormat to get inside the house and drinking beer while he waited for Layton.

Defense attorneys claimed Tuesday that Holly was too intoxicated to waive his constitutional rights and give the statement.

However, Judge Ed Jackson disagreed.

Jury selection for Holly's trial is scheduled to begin next Monday. ..more.. by WTVY

Judge says Holly statement to police was lawful
2-28-2007 Alabama:

Joseph Michael Holly may have been drinking the day police say he shot and killed James Layton, Jr., but not enough that he was impaired and could not understand his constitutional Miranda rights, a Houston County judge ruled Tuesday.

Holly, 58, is charged with capital murder in the death of Layton. Police say Holly confessed to killing Layton on July 11 of last year because Holly believed Layton had sexually molested his wife in either 1999 or 2000.

Defense attorney Tom Brantley filed a motion to suppress Holly's statement to police on the evening of the killing because Brantley said he was under the influence of alcohol and unable to understand his constitutional right to remain silent.

Brantley cited the initial call to 911 moments after the shooting that led the police dispatcher to include a "Signal 24" in the dispatch to police. Signal 24 is police code for public intoxication. Brantley also referred to the Dothan Police Department arrest report in which one of the officers at the scene described Holly's physical state as "drinking" and that his speech was slurred.

But when questioned at Tuesday's hearing, officer Joey Evans - who wrote the report - said he would rate Holly's alcohol impairment at a two on a scale of one to 10. Sgt. Tony Luker, who interviewed Holly about two hours after the shooting, testified he did not believe Holly was impaired by alcohol.

Circuit Judge Ed Jackson denied the defense motion without comment.

After calling the hearing to order, Jackson granted a defense motion barring the public from the hearing. The motion argued that publicity of evidence potentially suppressed could unduly influence the jury pool. Jury selection in Holly's trial is scheduled for Monday.

Jackson allowed the public back in a few minutes later, stating both attorneys had agreed to "posture" their arguments in a way that would not reveal any potentially-suppressed evidence in open court.

Holly is being tried for capital murder because police say he entered Layton's home without permission prior to the shooting. A killing in concert with a burglary can trigger a capital murder indictment. If convicted, Holly would be sentenced to either death or life in prison without parole. ..more.. by Lance Griffin

Holly pleads to capital murder; gets life without parole
3-7-2007 Alabama:

A man charged with killing his friend last year has pleaded guilty to capital murder and will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Joseph Michael Holly, 58, confessed to shooting James Layton Jr. on July 11, 2006, because Holly believed Layton molested his wife in 1999 or 2000.

The trial was scheduled to start Monday in front of Circuit Judge Ed Jackson before the plea deal was reached.

"The case was settled with the approval of the victim's sister and the police," District Attorney Doug Valeska said.

Valeska thanked Jackson for putting the case on the docket in a speedy manner. It is unusual for a jury trial for a capital murder case to be held less than eight months after the incident.

Police say Holly let himself into Layton's home on July 11, drank one or two beers from Layton's refrigerator and waited for him to arrive home from work. When Layton walked in the door, Holly allegedly said "This is for Christina," and shot Layton once with a .410 shotgun. Holly was charged with capital murder because police say the crime occurred in conjunction with a burglary.

Defense attorney Tom Brantley argued earlier that Holly should not be charged with capital murder because Layton had given Holly a key to his home earlier in the day and had asked him to pick up beer and place it in the refrigerator for him. Brantley later argued that evidence indicated Holly may have been under the influence of alcohol and unable to understand his constitutional Miranda rights.

Brantley is currently preparing for another trial. Jury selection in the capital murder trial of Shakira Thomas is set to begin Friday. Thomas is charged with killing her newborn in 2005. ..more.. by Lance Griffin

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