Teen’s murder trial set for Dec. 9

Oct. 10, 2013 @ 07:24 PM

A murder trial for an 18-year-old accused of shooting his mother when he was 15 is tentatively set for Dec. 9.

Jaquarius Thomez Holden faces a first-degree murder charge in the June 15, 2011, shooting death of his 33-year-old mother, Letitia Renee Hammond.

The case went before Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood Thursday, part of a series of status hearings on murder cases.

Prosecutors asked for a rush order on SBI lab testing for firearm ballistics, latent findings, DNA samples and further trace evidence sent May 13, nearly two years after the incident.

Allison Capps, prosecuting for the state, said evidence to be sent to the State Bureau of Investigation was delayed but never “not secure.” She said changes in personnel at the Henderson Police Department impacted the SBI not receiving evidence sooner.

The Dec. 9 trial date is pending SBI results returned by Nov. 1. Paul Stainback, attorney for the defense, said he wanted to view the evidence directly. Capps agreed, pending the return of evidence and also being present.

Capps said a January or February date for trial would be accepted if Stainback is not satisfied with a full disclosure of all the evidence in the case on time.

Stainback filed a motion Oct. 2 notifying prosecutors of his intent to possibly introduce an alibi defense. Capps said Thursday she would like discovery information about that tactic, chiefly to disclose all names of persons that may be named as part of that defense.

Stainback said Holden maintains his innocence of the shooting.

“I for the record believe him,” Stainback said. “This defendant has been in custody for more than two years.”

Hammond was found at her 710 S. Carolina Ave. home shot to death from close range, according to the medical examiner’s office autopsy report. The report indicated death by six gunshots, with 11 entry and exit wounds. Four bullets were in her head and chest areas.

A weapon was not found but shell casings were located, including in a vehicle linked to Holden.

Hammond was last known to be alive at 3 p.m. the day she died. The incident report listed 6:30 p.m. as the time of the call to police.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.