Article Comment 

Local politicians ask judge to move Holliman murder trial out of county

 

Jason Browne

 

Four prominent Lowndes County public figures have signed affidavits filed in Circuit Court requesting the relocation of Brian Holliman''s murder trial. 

 


Holliman is charged with the shooting death of his wife, Laura Holliman, Oct. 25, 2008, at the couple''s Caledonia home. 

 


Caledonia Mayor George Gerhart; District 17 Sen. Terry Brown, R-Columbus; District 39 Rep. Jeff Smith, D-Columbus, who also serves as Caledonia town attorney; and East Mississippi Community College Entrepreneurial Development Facilitator Bruce Hanson all signed papers requesting a change of venue. The papers were signed Aug. 11-12 and filed by Holliman''s attorney Steve Farese Aug. 24 in Lowndes County Circuit Court. 

 


The motion claims "high public visibility" from intense media coverage of Holliman''s case has tainted the jury pool. It continues to say the crime Holliman is accused of "evokes great passion and prejudice in the community" and that "a large portion of jurors have formed an opinion as to the defendant''s guilt or become prejudiced or biased against him." 

 


Gerhart says the change of venue is necessary for justice to be served. 

 


"To get a fair trial, yes. There''s too much publicity around here," he said. 

 


Gerhart admitted the Hollimans are personal friends of his. 

 


Brown doesn''t specifically recall signing the papers, but agrees with the proposal. 

 


"I may have (signed), I don''t remember. We sign a lot of papers. I do feel that it''s probably better off for both families, since both are here, that it be out of town," said Brown. 

 


Neither Smith nor Hanson could be reached for comment. 

 


Holliman''s trial was recently continued to Nov. 30. Circuit Court Judge Lee Howard will decide on the motion to change venues Oct. 20. 

 


Sixteenth District Attorney Forrest Allgood says a change of venue would result in yet another continuation. 

 


Allgood said his office will oppose the motion and file its own affidavit with citizens testifying to the contrary of the original motion''s claims. 

 


"We''re going to have to drum up some witnesses who will say that, ''We talked to people a lot and nobody has expressed to us an opinion one way or another,''" said Allgood. 

 


Further publicity regarding the motion to change venue, if it were to evoke a reaction in the community, may work counter to his office''s attempts to prove a fair trial is possible in Lowndes County, he said. 

 


Allgood said he doesn''t know where the trial may be moved to if the change of venue is granted, but he will continue to prosecute the case even if it falls outside his district.

 

 

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Reader Comments

Article Comment flabbergasted commented at 10/9/2009 4:15:00 PM:

looks like gerhart and friends of holliman are using their position to try to influence this case. he should be ashamed if he had any. seems to me this case has a lot of improper use of authority to it, from trying to say it was suicide to allowing him out of jail on personal recognicance. justice should be blind, but thats not the case here.

 

Article Comment paul commented at 10/9/2009 7:48:00 PM:

seems to me some people will try anything.also those 4 people that has signed that may not like to serve in office again.we do vote for them and i think it would be fair to stay here and have the trial.another thing why does it take months to have a trial of any kind.

 

Article Comment chill commented at 10/9/2009 9:06:00 PM:

Since when do POLITICIANS dictate JUSTICE?????
I felt so disappointed when I read this article.
I'm surprised Mr. HOWARD's name wasn't on it too. You remember HE released the accused WITHOUT proper bond when he was first arrested!.....and then admitted "I just wasn't thinking" when confronted by angry family and friends.
This whole thing STINKS boys. You will probably regret EVER attaching your name to this when the backlash hits.
This is "GOOD OLE BOY POLITICS" at it's finest!!!
I'm so disappointed, and expected better from Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith. As for the other two, I'm NOT surprised at all.
$100,000+ lawyers are supposed to vigorously defend their clients. If they want a change of venue, let them petition the court and let it take it's course. He has that right! However, when you stoop to using "prominent" local politicians to assist you......well like I said, they'll regret that one I'm sure.
GUYS!!!!....the "COWARDLY BOY" admitted what he did! LIED to authorities about what happened!! etc...and you want to be associated with THAT? I NEVER cease to me amazed!!!
Thanks to Mr. Allgood, Mr. Perrigan, and Mr. Merchant for your fine work in this case. Without you MEN, whis case would never be as far along as it is.
JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL!!!

 

Article Comment alan commented at 10/9/2009 10:29:00 PM:

Anyone who signed their name to this farce should be removed from office. I guarantee you "gentlemen" one thing for sure, come next election time, and after he has been convicted for this stupid senseless act, I will remind the voters of what it is you tried to do.

You are a disgrace to your offices and should resign immediately.

 

Article Comment my2cents commented at 10/10/2009 12:35:00 AM:

For a lot of years, I've had a great deal of respect for Mr. Smith and especially for Terry Brown. That ended today. As stated earlier, it is the job of lawyers handling the case to see that their client gets a fair trial. I can guarantee you these same men wouldn't lift a finger to help if just any old Joe Blow were in this same situation.

 

Article Comment hobbit commented at 10/10/2009 4:25:00 AM:

Mr. George Gerhart, what are you thinking?! Yes, you may have know them, but putting your name with an accused killer. How is this supporting or improving Caledonia? He is entitled to a fair trial by his peers, Lowndes County residents. This must be your last term as mayor of our small town because your actions do NOT support re-election.

Sen. Terry Brown and Rep. Jeff Smith, what were the two of you thinking by placing your names as elected state officials into a criminal trial? There is not a whole lot of reasonable doubt in this case. I held both of you in great respect until this. Did you stop supporting his wife's interest? Oh, I forgot; she dead and can't vote. The rest of us can; I will.

Mr. Bruce Hanson, you are in a position to promote EMCC. How is this promoting our local junior college? This is not education but a criminal. You should withdraw you paperwork or resign. This trail has nothing to do with EMCC until you stuck your nose into this pie.

Mr. Allgood, thank you for all your hard work. We the voters of Lowndes County and Caledonia support your efforts to put those that do violent crime behind bars or on death row as apporiate.

 

Article Comment Cal Citizen commented at 10/10/2009 4:27:00 PM:

What on earth, I almost fainted when reading this. People I have always been taught You play with fire you will get burnt. I guarantee you there are some Caledonia voters who are thinking twice. The Cal Mayor and other politicians just shot down their reelection! GET A GRIP

 

Article Comment debug commented at 10/10/2009 9:36:00 PM:

Wonder what other papers Sen. Brown does not remember signing? Rep Jeff Smith, you have a lot of 'splaining to do!

 

Article Comment debug commented at 10/10/2009 9:40:00 PM:

Wonder what other papers Sen. Brown does not remember signing? Rep Jeff Smith, you have a lot of 'splaining to do!

 

Article Comment sk commented at 10/10/2009 10:50:00 PM:

BRIAN HOLLIMAN ADMITTED TO THE MURDER!! THAT PERSUADED MY DECISION IF ANYTHING! NOT THE TAINTED MEDIA!

 

Article Comment tallulah2u commented at 10/10/2009 11:38:00 PM:

Isn't Hanson a relative of Holliman? I believe he is, so his request, if not all of them, should be completely discounted.

 

Article Comment 14/88 commented at 10/11/2009 6:25:00 AM:

Kick gerheart out of office! This is just stupid. Bring back a REAL mayor, bring back Bill Lawrence!

 

Article Comment jusme commented at 10/11/2009 7:43:00 AM:

Nobody made Brian pull the trigger. He should be "doing time for the crime". The people need to think about the children who lost their mom and her family, not the popular guy. If it had been the average joe, nothing would of been said. Leave this guy to do his punishment alone, treat him like any other criminal, he admitted to the crime, let him do his time. I feel for Brian because my son new him personally. Politician's need to pay attention to what they were hired for, not this crap!

 

Article Comment lremsehbd commented at 10/11/2009 8:39:00 AM:

outrageous !! my heart breaks for laura's children and her family - haven't they been through enough without having to deal with this political, good ole boy kick in the gut ? I can only hope, and pray, that Brian gets what he deserves - prison is not going to be pretty for this pathetic excuse for a human being -

 

Article Comment evan commented at 10/11/2009 2:39:00 PM:

how many of all of you actually know them and the situation. like many of you have already shown, y'all have already shown your opinions. how can he have a fair trial when many opinions are already formed. it is very fair for him to get a fair trial and a change of venue because so many people have formed opinions about things that they know nothing about. those who judge will be judged in the end.

 

Article Comment evan commented at 10/11/2009 2:41:00 PM:

how many of all of you actually know them and the situation. like many of you have already shown, y'all have already shown your opinions. how can he have a fair trial when many opinions are already formed. it is very fair for him to get a fair trial and a change of venue because so many people have formed opinions about things that they know nothing about. those who judge will be judged in the end.

 

Article Comment J A B commented at 10/11/2009 3:07:00 PM:



These people are backing muder which make them murders. Sure they will be gone come election day.

Please send the defense att urty a card saying leave this in loundes couty. You can make a difference.

 

Article Comment ej commented at 10/11/2009 5:14:00 PM:

Sen Terry Brown, if your mind has got that bad, you will probably need a escort bACK TO Jackson. I personally think you have open up one time to many and we the citizens of Lowndes won't forget.

 

Article Comment lremsehbd commented at 10/11/2009 5:29:00 PM:

Evan, I beg your pardon, but he ADMITTED to the crime - that makes it pretty darn easy to form an opinion - he needs to face his accusers, and his accusers are HERE, not some anonymous town where his defense lawyer can try to put on some type of spin on this tragic case !!!!! PLEASE !!!! he had no mercy on Laura, so we need not show Brian any !!!!

 

Article Comment Unbelievable commented at 10/11/2009 7:10:00 PM:

Just curious to know how Mayor Gerhart would feel if either of his daughters were murdered and he was the one raising their children? I'm sure the other politicians that signed this petition have children also. Put yourself in the shoes of the victims here, the children that no longer have a mother.

 

Article Comment fred commented at 10/11/2009 10:05:00 PM:

Unbelievable, you are talking as if you were addressing "normal" politicians. What is clear here is a "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" type of good ole boy network that has kept Mississippi at the bottom of every list except teenage pregnancy. Expecting them to "reconsider" is like asking a snake to not bite.

 

Article Comment crys commented at 10/12/2009 12:22:00 AM:

I understand the feelings some of you may have but look at it this way....we all know he did it and he knows he did regardless of where the trial is at guilty is guilty any right minded person whether they are on a jury in Columbus or a different town will make the right decision. And if you're concerned he's the "popular" guy then maybe it is in the best interest of Laura and her family to have the trial outside of Columbus. Laura, her daughters and her family need justice and if it stays in Columbus she might not get it.

 

Article Comment JRT commented at 10/12/2009 3:10:00 AM:

This murderer killed a beautiful young mother & shouldn't have been allowed out from behind bars for the rest of his life. These polititions didn't have any business whatsoever trying to help out this criminal in any form or fashion & I surely hope the voters of Lowndes county let them know this IN FULL FORCE come next election time.Brian Holliman's trail should be all ready over with & he should get worse punishment than he gave the mother of his children!!!!!!!!!

 

Article Comment mark commented at 10/12/2009 4:10:00 AM:

Looks like the good ole boy crap presides again. It is crap like this that keeps this area from advancing. Good luck people of columbus as you disgrace the area again. I am ashamed of this area.

 

Article Comment janedoeII commented at 10/12/2009 10:46:00 AM:

I cannot believe that you can murder your wife and get by with it by family ties to the local policitians....They ALL should be ousted from office...this was a brutal and henious crime that will go unpunished due to the "GOOD OL BOYS"...hope you all can sleep at night...What if it was your daughter? It would be a different story then......

 

Article Comment fred commented at 10/12/2009 1:51:00 PM:

I would invite all of you to write the Whitehouse and the Governor and complain about this sickening interference by these politicians. And then follow that up in the voting booth come the next election by sending these sick people home for good.

The line is drawn. Are you standing or running? Kick 'em out.

 

Article Comment Dixie Dagobert commented at 10/12/2009 2:15:00 PM:

I was dishearted to learn local politicians Hanson, Smith, Brown, Gehert, et al colluded with an accused murderer's lawyer for a change of venue. Apparently they don't trust their own electors (jurors)to be fair jurors or the elected judge to preside over a fair trial. This is the political equilvent of gazing at the stars while walking through a cow pasture. However, now the DA can argue "how can the jury pool be tainted if such popular politicians are shilling for the accused." Maybe next time they will look down while strolling through a cow pasture.

 

Article Comment Fair commented at 10/12/2009 7:11:00 PM:

I find it funny that you all show such fierce animosity towards the accused, yet act as though he would have a fair trial if he were to stay in Lowndes County. Notice I use the word accused, not convicted. Your minds have been so clouded with everything from ill written newspaper articles, to every story relayed to you through Leroy, whose ex-wife's new brother in law used to know a guy that dated a girl that was Laura's friend in elementary school, that you have know idea what the truth is. Now, in no way am I taking up for one side or the other. I am simply supporting a fair trial. If convicted, his punishment should be severe. You all speak of "good ol' boy" politics as though you are against it, yet that is exactly what you are supporting, listen to yourselves, " Somebody told me his neighbor said he admitted to it, string 'em high!". That is "good ol' boy" politics in its rawest form.

 

Article Comment Mermade commented at 10/12/2009 10:25:00 PM:

I do believe that our elected officials, at a minimum, have violated the following statute:
25-4-101

The legislature declares that elective and public office and employment is a public trust and any effort to realize personal gain through official conduct, other than as provided by law, or as a natural consequence of the employment or position, is a violation of that trust. Therefore, public servants shall endeavor to pursue a course of conduct which will not raise suspicion among the public that they are likely to be engaged in acts that are in violation of this trust and which will not reflect unfavorably upon the state and local governments.

Should someone file a complaint with the Miss. Ethics Commission?

 

Article Comment Bridgett commented at 10/13/2009 8:34:00 AM:

Amen Fred..
I personally knew Laura Lee and Brian Holliman. I agree that his case should be moved out of Lowndes County due to the fact that his family has too much influence here. For instance, the MILLION DOLLAR signature bond that he was released on when he first got arrested. We as Laura Lees friends and family had to go to the Sheriff and protest this. How many people do you know that can sign a piece of paper without collateral on a million dollar bond and be released, and then have his bond reduced to $250 thousand. SMALL TOWN POLITICS. Brian has abused and stalked his ex wife and ex girlfriends. This man had a past before the murder of Laura Lee and is still allowed to a free man. We would lock up a drug dealer and throw away the key, but he was allowed to murder his wife and be set free, it sickens me everyday he is allowed freedom when he took this woman, daughter and most of all MOTHER away from her children. I am patiently waiting on our Justice for Laura Lee!! I have faith, and Brian will have to face his maker one day..

 

Article Comment janedoeII commented at 10/13/2009 8:57:00 AM:

To Bridgett...I am so sorry that you lost your friend. I didn't know her but live really close to their home when it happened. What a sad, sad day for everyone in our community. This man has an uncontrollable temper and he shouldn't hide behind his parents.....it's time to pay for what you did Brian Holliman

 

Article Comment magensmom commented at 10/13/2009 9:13:00 AM:

Knowing Brian's ex-wife, who he beat and raped also, I am so sorry to hear that local, crooked politicians would get involved in such a matter and associate their names with a sadistic, confessed murderer. I hope the voters of their district will remember this come election time and I wonder how much more money will change hands before this trial takes place. I guarantee his parents are funneling money into some campaign funds in order to get this done. His momma should be tried along with him for helping cover it up and for always covering for him when he abused Laura Lee and Hollie. Yes we remember how you planted drugs to try and influence the custody case!

 

Article Comment magensmom commented at 10/13/2009 9:23:00 AM:

Fair,
To understand why everyone is so upset, you should do some research. Brian Holliman has a very troubled past. He has been arrested and had complaints filed against him for violence on more than one occasion. Also, he admitted he should Laura Lee and that he and his mother tried to cover up the crime. That is fact and will be admitted into evidence if the trial isn't bought and paid for before that time. His parents are aware of his problems, blame themselves for it because they have covered for him for so long, full of guilt because Laura Lee and Hollie asked for their help and they let it go way to far. Now they feel obligated to save him from the death penalty because they know they could have stopped it long ago. You have "no" idea what you are talking about and need to keep your moth shut about it.
As for the Bruce Hanson, a complaint against you is being drawn up as we speak. You have stepped out of your boundaries and broken the ethics code for your position and will be dealt with accordingly.

 

Article Comment Justice commented at 10/13/2009 9:27:00 AM:

I believe justice should be served, and in the end we all will be held accountable for our wrong doings. However, this incident has received so much publicity until I agree it should be tried in another precinct. With so many preconceived minds, how could anyone receive a fair trial? Isn't that what our justice system is all about?

 

Article Comment Fair commented at 10/13/2009 12:32:00 PM:

Fred, are you seriously calling me out because I accidentally used know, instead of no? I believe my grammar and sentence structure is leaps and bounds ahead of some of the things that have been posted here. Looks like someone is playing favorites. Maybe one day you can teach me how to spell Mr. Fred. In turn, I might teach you how to properly use commas.

 

Article Comment Fair commented at 10/13/2009 12:32:00 PM:

Fred, are you seriously calling me out because I accidentally used know, instead of no? I believe my grammar and sentence structure is leaps and bounds ahead of some of the things that have been posted here. Looks like someone is playing favorites. Maybe one day you can teach me how to spell Mr. Fred. In turn, I might teach you how to properly use commas.

 

Article Comment Bridgett commented at 10/13/2009 12:37:00 PM:

Thank you "MagensMom" Amen Sister, everyone should know all the facts in the case, like we do and just what all the Hollimans have done to cover up the crime their son committed.. and anyone who stands behind him are INSANE. Brian still taunts Laura Lees friends and family and Thank God the baby is away from those deranged people now. It turns my stomach everytime I think of him having his freedom and pretending as if nothing happenend and actually blaming Laura Lee for what has happend. I hope he gets treated the same way he treated women when he get locked up!!

 

Article Comment christy commented at 10/13/2009 4:24:00 PM:

i believe there is no way possible brian could be given a fair trial in columbus - a change of venue is necessary - as we all have read with the above comments, he might as well be convicted - wouldn't you all want a fair trial if the situation was reversed? - he admits guilt, therefore he will serve time, but everyone deserves a fair trial!

 

Article Comment Fred commented at 10/13/2009 7:32:00 PM:

And where is the fair trial for Laura? She was judged and executed on the spot. Brian deserves nothing less.

 

Article Comment Cheryl commented at 10/14/2009 6:51:00 AM:

This is horrific! This man has a HISTORY of violence! He is a control freek, manipulative,and emotionaly abusive: an out of control person; this was bound to happen! The men presiding over the venue change are of the same manipulative nature and have NO MORAL COMPASS. I feel sorry for the victim's family. That they should suffer insult upon injury is unconcionable! I know his first wife and she was LUCKY to have gotten away from him. He needs to go somewhere far away to stay so decent LAW ABIDEING people can live with out fear. Their pain will NEVER go away. Thoes children, even his first wife's son will live with this shaddow. I hope people will be kind to them. Violence is never an option and should not be given leiniancy. It promotes more of the same. We correct our children for unacceptable behavior; this is a grown man! There is something seriously wrong with this picture. DO WHAT"S RIGHT PEOPLE OR YOU CAN EXPECT MORE OF THE SAME!!

 

Article Comment WTF? commented at 10/15/2009 10:11:00 AM:

I heard all of the rumors too. I was close to the Holliman's and didn't know what to believe. Then one day my old neighbor said they had heard a rumor that I was involved. I then knew what to believe, not a damn word of it. justice will be served. There is no sense in dragging everyone that has ever known him through the mud.

 

Article Comment WTF? commented at 10/15/2009 10:19:00 AM:

I heard all of the rumors too. I was close to the Holliman's and didn't know what to believe. Then one day my old neighbor said they had heard a rumor that I was involved. I then knew what to believe, not a damn word of it. justice will be served. There is no sense in dragging everyone that has ever known him through the mud.

 

Article Comment Carley Livingston commented at 10/15/2009 12:17:00 PM:

Move His trail. Noone moved the mans that killed my sister... NOONE, but thats probably because we didnt have the money right? This man is a murder. how could you possibly take the life of YOUR childrens mother. Was anything she did so f'n bad. NO! The most prettiest babies lost there mom,which devistates me. But I can not wait to see the day they lose there SORRY ASS DAD. i think court should be held here where everyone can see all the evidence... better yet let lowndes county citizens decide where he goes. I bet he is under the jail within the first 45 seconds. Columbus MS Legal System needs to get on a BALL. all i hope is that these sorry ass men sit back and think what if that was your cildren. it would be completely different.!

 

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