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MIS-CARRIAGE OF JUSTICE - MARINE
GETS LIFE IN PRISON FOR A CRIME
HE DIDN'T DO. THE STORY OF
LANCE CORPORAL KEVIN HOLT

 

Forget the Bill of Rights and civilian concepts of a justice system, including the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) was designed and is perpetuated primarily to reinforce the command structure. In other words, the "fix" is in.

Lance Corporal Kevin Holt, USMC, was arrested by the San Diego, Calif. Sheriff's Department on May 17, 1992 while home on leave in Washington State. He was on his way home from church with his fiancee, whom he was due to marry in three days. He was 21 years old.

What has become a nine-year "nightmare" had just begun.

He was charged with the stabbing murder of a fellow marine, Brent Arthurs, in an alleged cover-up of the theft of a trailer and the deceased's motorcycle.

Then the Marine Corps assumed jurisdiction.

Holt acknowledged his participation in the theft and his second-hand knowledge of a related insurance scam. However, he has steadfastly maintained all these years his innocence of the murder charge - AND CONTINUES TO DO SO to this day, even though a "confession" would offer his only hope of a commuted sentence.

"I will never admit to something I didn't do," Holt said. "Each morning here in prison, when I awake and look at myself in the mirror, I have to be able to live with what I see. What good is freedom if you can't even look yourself in the face without disgust?"

THE GOVERNMENT AND DEFENSE THEORY

At court-martial, the prosecution claimed Holt "lured" Corporal Arthurs to a remote area in San Diego county where he stabbed him 46 times to conceal the theft and scam. He subsequently, according to government witnesses, offered them a detailed account of the murder. A "45-minute window" on that Friday night in 1991 is specifically cited in the record as "the time of the murder."

"It was the only period of time that weekend that I was alone without an alibi," Holt recalled. "But even that shouldn't have mattered because it takes more than forty-five minutes to drive to the murder scene and back while speeding and making all the lights, let alone stopping to murder someone and then washing up."

The defense team contended Holt assisted the victim and others involved in the theft scam (the chief prosecution witnesses) to move and hide the motorcycle until Arthurs (the murder victim) could collect the insurance money. That was the extent of Holt's participation. He departed on leave to Washington on Saturday morning to get married.

At trial, no less than ELEVEN marines testified that they knew Arthurs and had either seen or spoken to him on SATURDAY! One even had breakfast with him! Obviously this didn't fit into the prosecution's contention, so all eleven accounts were dismissed as "Elvis sightings."

In any civilian court in America the case would have been tossed out right then and there! But this was a "military" court and the Marines needed a "killer" to wrap up the case. Why not send Kevin Holt to Leavenworth and close the books on a homicide? So they did.

KEY GOVERNMENT WITNESSES

1). A Marine Corps deserter and confessed liar and thief with "an obsession for motorcycles," who was granted IMMUNITY by the government for his damning testimony. He was in possession of the stolen motorcycle at the time of Holt's arrest.

During closing arguments in Holt's trial, the prosecutors referred to their star witness as a "liar," and a "thief." But they were more than happy to take his "word" when it fit their purposes.

2). A fellow marine and cohort of Arthurs. A man "obsessed with knives and killing," according to the defense team, and who had boasted to a female marine about knifing a man in Tennessee, taking pictures of the blood trail and showing them around.

3). The braggart's 16 year-old girlfriend, who married the man two weeks after the murder. She called police a week after Arthurs was found dead and gave explicit details of the killing - but claimed Holt had volunteered them to her!

You can sum up that witness list with the phrase: "Whatever it takes."

LEGAL ERRORS IN THE GOVERNMENT'S CASE

The above-mentioned government witnesses testified that Holt told them he was "covered" with blood after the killing. His clothes and torn-apart car were thoroughly analyzed by the U.S. Army Forensic Laboratory which found NO blood or other evidence!

The government countered this setback by hiring a so-called "forensic expert" for the princely sum of $25,000 to testify that he found blood splatters that the U.S. Army Crime Lab and San Diego Sheriff's Department had missed.

While the zealous prosecutors were paying $25,000 to what some observers called a "liar for hire," the entire budget allowed for the defense team was only a fifth of that, just $5,000.

The junior of the two officers assigned to Holt's "defense," who did all the interviewing and hands-on work with the witnesses was inexplicably reassigned to Washington, DC, just days before the trial began. A coincidence? Or an effort to cripple the defense team?

Privately, and at his OWN EXPENSE, this Marine officer flew to California to testify at the court-martial in Holt's defense. HE WAS DENIED ACCESS TO THE BASE.

What was the prosecution afraid of, that they had to "stack the deck" so high? Were they more interested in sending "someone " to prison for the killing that it didn't matter if an innocent man was sacrificed?

To you, the reader, Kevin Holt has this message from his cramped jail cell at Leavenworth: "How would you feel if this had happened to YOUR son or daughter? If any of you have friends or family in the military it could happen to them too.

"If you feel anger, good! It SHOULD anger you! It should open your eyes to the insidious evil of a judicial system run by the military with little or no oversight. A "system" where your accusers appoint your defense attorneys and pick the jury members they want to convict you. Those junior officers on the defense team are subject to subtle and not-so-subtle pressures not to work "too hard" defending a client or it could adversely affect their career. A "system" where an accusation is as good as a conviction. And where the conviction rate is 98 per cent!

"My hope and prayer is that you will get involved and show your disapproval and disgust at the gross injustices of the military's judicial system. Don't do this for me. It's too late. My life is already ruined and I have eleven more years left to do behind bars. Do it for your families, friends and any young person thinking of joining the military. The only way change will come about is if YOU bother to get involved.

Thank you and God Bless."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Go to our home page and scroll down to the banner advertisement for attorney Bill Cassara. He is now handling Kevin's case. Let Bill know how you feel about the injustice done to this young marine and offer your support in any way possible. It will be deeply appreciated.

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