Stepdad guilty of sexually assaulting, impregnating and brutally murdering teen with developmental disabilities gets sentenced to life in prison

James Holland was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to capital murder in connection to the death of stepdaughter Holli Jeffcoat


                            Stepdad guilty of sexually assaulting, impregnating and brutally murdering teen with developmental disabilities gets sentenced to life in prison

A Texas man who was accused of raping and impregnating his stepdaughter pleaded guilty to murdering her at the 137th District Court. In a last-minute plea deal, 42-year-old James Holland pleaded guilty to capital murder in connection with the February 2016 death of 18-year-old Holli Jeffcoat and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Holli — said to be developmentally disabled and with the mental age of a six or seven-year-old —was found dead by a family member at a home in the 2900 block of County Road on February 10, 2016.  The 18-year-old, who was 12-weeks pregnant at the time, was found to have suffered multiple stab wounds, had her throat slashed, and her womb removed. The house had been burned, possibly so the killer could cover his tracks.

Holland became the primary suspect when it was revealed that just one month before the murder, the teenager had told school personnel and police officials that the 42-year-old had been sexually abusing her and that the abuse had resulted in her pregnancy. A warrant states that she expressed she was afraid of going home because she didn't want to have sex with her stepfather. "It also hurt when Holli ran in PE because she could feel her baby move," it claimed.

At the time of the killing, Holland had been ordered to stay away from Holli as part of a CPS safety plan. But investigators said he had disobeyed the orders and said the 42-year-old had paint on his hands that was similar to the paint found on the window in the teen's room.

Holland to life in prison without the possibility of parole (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center)
Holland to life in prison without the possibility of parole (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center)

A search warrant alleged Holland had removed her uterus to cover up the fact that he had impregnated her, and that he burned the house to cover up the manner of his stepdaughter's death. He was subsequently arrested and charged with capital murder. He was also accused of raping the teen as well as her younger sister two to five times a week since they were 12 and 9-years-old.

In the March 2018 pre-trial hearing, Lubbock County District Attorney Sunshine Stanek announced that the prosecution would be seeking the death penalty for Holland, something that was avoided after he pleaded guilty to the charges of murder.

Debi is currently awaiting trial at the Lubbock County Detention Center (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center)
Debi is currently awaiting trial at the Lubbock County Detention Center (Source: Lubbock County Detention Center)

In a statement after the sentencing, Stanek said, "We are pleased that this Defendant accepted responsibility and pleaded guilty to the Capital Life Without Parole sentence. Justice in this case not only includes ensuring that this defendant dies in prison, but hope that the living victim gains new life with this outcome."

Holland was not the only person charged in Holli's death, however. The investigation saw her mother, 40-year-old Debi Bryant Holland, also arrested and charged with sexual abuse and capital murder for allegedly allowing her husband to abuse and kill the teen. Authorities reportedly believe Debi knew about the abuse and didn't tell anyone because Holland paid rent. They also found internet searches on her email address for incest porn, mostly involving stepfathers and stepdaughters. She has pleaded not guilty to her charges and remains in custody at the Lubbock County Detention Center on a $500,000 bond.