Mom considered boot camp for Holden

Mar. 27, 2014 @ 08:55 PM

A state witness who testified Thursday in the first-degree murder trial of Jaquareus Holden recalled a change in the 18-year-old’s behavior several months before the June 2011 shooting death of his mother, Letitia Renee Hammond.

Timothy Kingsberry, Hammond’s boyfriend, said he observed that Holden started hanging out with a different crowd before the shooting took place on June 15, 2011.

“He become a little more hard-headed, a little more uncontrollable and less respectful towards his mother,” he said.

Kingsberry, 42, testified two to three months before the shooting, Hammond inquired about placing her son in boot camp to fix his behavior.

He said he found the gun he kept in his house missing about a week before the shooting.

Kingsberry’s testimony indicated he discovered this gun in a crawl space in the 710 S. Carolina Ave., Henderson, home where Holden and Hammond lived.

He said he removed the gun from the house when he first found it, but later moved it into the house and kept it beneath the mattress he shared with Hammond.

He said when he asked Holden if he took the gun, Holden responded he hadn’t.

A photograph of Holden posing with a gun was found on Holden’s cellphone, which was obtained by Henderson Police Department Detective Alan Simmons on June 15, 2011, when he responded to the incident at 710 S. Carolina Ave., Henderson.

Kingsberry testified the gun in the photograph was the same as the one removed from beneath the mattress.

Simmons, who also testified on behalf of the prosecution, said he interviewed Kingsberry at the police station on the night of the shooting.

“Mr. Kingsberry was very emotional about losing Letitia,” he said Thursday. “He immediately asked what happened and broke down and began to cry.”

Simmons said he attended Hammond’s funeral and observed Holden’s impassive demeanor during the service.

He said he didn’t see Holden cry or express sympathy at his mother’s funeral. He said at one point during the funeral, someone started shouting, and Holden responded with laughter.

“If I put myself in those shoes and I was a child knowing my mother was brutally murdered, it would tear me apart,” Simmons said, wiping away tears.

The state’s case is expected to continue today.

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.