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Fairfax-Area Transient Gets Jail Term in Attack

August 02, 2003|Kathleen Flynn | Times Staff Writer

A transient who had been plaguing the Fairfax district for years was sentenced Thursday to six months of jail time as part of the city attorney's Neighborhood Prosecutor program.

William Wray Holt was convicted of assaulting an 11-year-old girl by swinging a large knife at her in the Pan Pacific Park area on April 18. Superior Court Commissioner Sanjay T. Kumar sentenced Holt to one year in jail but suspended six months of the term after Holt entered a plea this week.

After serving his sentence, Holt will be subject to a restraining order to keep him away from the Grove shopping center, Farmers Market and a stretch of Fairfax Avenue until 2006.

If found in any of those areas, he could be sent back to jail for an additional six months.

"I am pleased that we can empower the community with more tools to protect themselves," said City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo.

In a March speech, Delgadillo had used Holt as an example of the effectiveness of his Neighborhood Prosecutor program, which was designed to put more criminals behind bars.

But, at that point, Holt had recently been released from jail, where he had been serving time for assault and battery on a pizza deliveryman, concealed weapons and vandalism in June 2000.

Fairfax district community members, who said they have lived in fear of Holt since the mid-1990s, had mixed reaction to the sentencing.

"I think the city attorney did a great job," said Jacqueline Canter, president of the Fairfax Business Assn. and manager of Canter's deli on Fairfax.

But Canter said she is concerned about what will happen after Holt is released, adding that he came back to her area three times under a previous restraining order.

"He'll be back," Canter said. "He likes to test the limits, and he is very shrewd."

Community members have accused Holt of spitting on and harassing passersby, stalking residents and even renting out public areas to other transients for a dollar a night.

Robert Cherno, a member of the Fairfax Residents Assn., said he is worried that Holt will be released early, and said there are many more individuals in the area like Holt who won't be dealt with.

"This is a start," Cherno said. "But simply putting [Holt] away for six months is not going to solve the problem."

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