Holden murder trial to start

Mar. 22, 2014 @ 08:32 PM

The jury trial of an 18-year-old accused of killing his mother is scheduled to begin Monday with jury selection.

Jaquareus Thomez Holden is charged with first-degree murder in the June 15, 2011, shooting death of Letitia Renee Hammond, 33. 

Holden was 15 years old when he was arrested and will be tried as an adult.

She was shot in the 710 S. Carolina Ave., Henderson, home where they both lived.

According to autopsy reports, Hammond was shot at least six times at close range in the kitchen and hall areas of her home.

One of Hammond’s two daughters found her body a couple hours after Hammond died, according to the examiner’s report signed by Dr. James O. Goodwin.

The trial had been pushed back from earlier set dates because of delays in the State Bureau of Investigation lab work that originally had been stored in Henderson police hands by mistake.

In December, Assistant District Attorney Allison Capps said six tests from the SBI, which delayed a possible trial in November, had been completed. Capps is prosecuting the case.

Six officers with the Henderson police, including Lt. Christopher Ball, had been subpoenaed for delivering possible testimony for trial.

Also subpoenaed were Kim Nalevaiko with Bertie Ambulance Services, Doyle Carpunky with Vance County Rescue and Brian Short, the director of Vance County Emergency Operations.

Evidence for trial includes elements from several searches, one of the home where Hammond died and another of a 2006 Mazda 6 sedan linked to the household.

In February, Holden’s defense attorney, Paul J. Stainback, presented a motion to supress evidence, and Vance County Superior Court Judge Paul C. Ridgeway denied the motion March 11.

Stainback requested 21 photographs taken at the crime scene prior to the execution of a search warrant be supressed because they were not taken under the authority of a search warrant and thus in violation of Holden’s constitutional rights, court documents state.

The motion by Stainback also requested Holden’s cellphone and its contents should be supressed because he argued the cellphone was impermissibly obtained, according to court records.

In his order, Ridgeway states the crime scene photos were not in violation of the Fourth Amendment right against illegal search and seizure because an exception may apply where law enforcement are responding to an emergency, and there is not time to secure a warrant.

Ridgeway also argues the cellphone was obtained permissbly because it was handed over voluntarily by a third party during the execution of a lawful search warrant, court documents state.

The crime scene photos and cellphone will be included as evidence in the upcoming trial.

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.