Sunday, August 22, 2010

Woman gets 6-15 years for blasting husband while sleeping

A 48 year old Michigan woman was sentenced on August 11, 2010 to 6-15 years in prison for shooting her husband, a Michigan State trooper, to death. 53 year old Sgt. Melvin Paul Holbrook was killed with gunshot blasts from his service revolver to his body on August 11, 2009. Both lived in the Michigan town of Beulah.

Joni Holbrook shot her husband multiple times as he slept in their Benzie County home, then called 911 and reported the incident. She pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder after agreeing to a last-minute plea deal the day before her jury trial was set to begin.

Joni Holbrook told [Benzie Circuit Judge James]Batzer when she entered her plea that she killed her husband because he subjected her to years of mental, physical and sexual abuse. Batzer later told the Record-Eagle that Holbrook's attorneys had "considerable evidence" she had been sexually battered and abused, and he took that evidence into account for her sentence.

Joni's statement to her victim's family echoed those remarks. ""I am sorry that my actions have taken someone so special away from you," she said. "I don't look at myself as a killer. I look at myself as a survivor."

Joni's attorney Jesse Williams said that the sentenced for her husband's killing, "a matter of self defense," was better than he thought. "The outcome was better than people expected. I didn't know what to expect. This court and this judge gave her a fair shake down."

State police Lt. Bill Elliott, who worked with the victim at the Traverse City post for two decades, said "It's just a very difficult situation. I don't know what the right answer would have been, but I was surprised to hear how lenient the sentence was." The victim's sister, Meleen Froman, said "I just think it's a mockery. I just think it's sad. I'm a little angry now." Froman traveled from Oklahoma to MIchigan for the sentencing.

Judge Batner explained to the detractors of the plea deal why their was a 15 year maximum for Joni's sentencing. "The law is an imperfect vehicle, but it's what we have. I know this sentence is going to be unsatisfactory to parties aligned on both sides. There is nothing that this court can do ... that can make it satisfactory."

No comments: