Friday, 29 July 2011

Murderer, 19, given 141-year sentence


Before he was sentenced, Dennis Holt told the victim's family, "I didn't kill your loved one."
Before he was sentenced, Dennis Holt told the victim's family, "I didn't kill your loved one."
Dennis Holt was a juvenile when he participated in a string of armed robberies, one of which turned deadly.
His entire adult life will be spent behind bars.
Holt, 19, was sentenced yesterday to 141 years to life in prison by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Richard S. Sheward.
Holt looked a bit dazed and barely shook his head when Sheward asked if he had any comment after the sentence was announced.
With credit for the 843 days he has spent in jail, Holt would be eligible for parole after serving nearly 139 years.
Sheward didn't comment on the sentence during the hearing but said afterward that he was influenced by the number of victims of the armed robberies and concerns that Holt would be "a time bomb" if released.
"I don't think he should be on the streets. Period," the judge said.
It was the longest sentence imposed by Sheward since 2008, when he sent Richard Enyart to prison for 365 years to life. Enyart was convicted of raping at least six little girls in the basement of his North Side home.
Last month, a jury convicted Holt of murder in the death of Daud Osman, a cook who was shot at a Somali restaurant, as well as eight counts of aggravated robbery and eight counts of kidnapping in connection with four armed robberies in 2009.
It was Holt's second trial on the charges. The first ended in a mistrial when he filed lawsuits against both his attorney and the judge.
Although his accomplices told investigators that Holt shot Osman, the jury wasn't convinced that he was the triggerman, finding him guilty of murder rather than aggravated murder. Jurors also found him not guilty of one count of aggravated robbery because they didn't think prosecutors proved that he was the one who rifled through Osman's pockets after the shooting.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Basnett urged the judge to take that into consideration in sentencing Holt, who was 17 and living on Atwood Terrace in North Linden when the crimes were committed. A Juvenile Court judge transferred the case to adult court.
Before the sentence was imposed, Holt turned to Osman's friends and family in the courtroom and said, "It's sad that the family has to go through this, but I didn't do this. I didn't kill your loved one."
None of the family members or friends spoke in court or reacted to the sentence.
Assistant Prosecutor Jimmy Lowe asked for the maximum sentence, speaking of "the callousness" of the crimes in which gunmen burst into businesses and threatened to kill customers and employees.
Osman, 38, was shot in the chest when he grabbed a knife and chased one of the robbers from the kitchen of the Iftin Restaurant, 4191 Cleveland Ave., on March 12, 2009. The other robberies were committed at a Shell station on Hudson Street on March 7, a United Dairy Farmers in Whitehall on March 12, and a UDF on Karl Road on March 19.
The murder conviction carried a mandatory sentence of 15 years to life. Sheward also imposed the maximum sentence on the other counts and ruled that they must be served consecutively. He added six of a possible nine years for gun specifications, resulting in a combined sentence three years shy of the maximum.
The three co-defendants, all of whom reached plea agreements with prosecutors, received sentences ranging from eight to 23 years.
But prosecutors have filed a motion to void their deal with Carlos D. Cox, 21, who is serving the 23-year sentence, because he refused to testify during Holt's trial. If Sheward agrees during a hearing on Aug. 16, all of the counts against Cox, including aggravated murder, will be reinstated and he will face trial.

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