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Ventura County Focus / West | VENTURA

Killer Abandoned at Age 14, Witness Says

January 17, 1998|HILARY E. MacGREGOR

Attorneys for convicted killer Alan Brett Holland, seeking to save him from execution, presented their first witness Friday in an attempt to show he was abandoned by his mother at 14.

Testifying in the penalty phase of Holland's murder trial, Louisiana court administrator Curtis St. Mary said Holland's mother did almost nothing to get her son back after he stole her truck, drove to Louisiana, was arrested and locked up there.

"From age 14 on he has had no friends, no skills and no judgment," attorney Willard Wiksell said outside the courtroom.

"This in no way excuses his behavior," Wiksell said. "He should be punished, and he will not ever have a moment of freedom for the rest of his life. But he hasn't earned the death penalty."

Holland was convicted in December of shooting 65-year-old Mildred Wilson through the heart at the Poinsettia Pavilion mall in Ventura in 1996 when she refused to hand over her purse. Defense attorneys called no witnesses.

In the second phase of the trial, both the defense and prosecution are presenting evidence to help the jury decide whether Holland should live the rest of his life in prison, or be executed.

In his opening statements for the penalty phase Wednesday, Wiksell argued that Holland's life should be spared because he had suffered brain damage as a child from bathing his dog with flea chemicals.

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