Police: Pregnant Woman—Faribault Native—Slain by Husband
Roger Earl Holland is charged with two counts of second-degree murder for the death of his wife and unborn child, but Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom has vowed to bring the case before a grand jury.
An Apple Valley man stands accused of strangling his pregnant wife, killing her and her unborn child, before throwing her body down a flight of stairs in an effort to make her death appear accidental.
Roger Earl Holland, 36, currently faces two counts of second-degree murder, a charge that carries a maximum of 40 years in prison. However, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said today he will bring an indictment for first-degree murder before a grand jury.
The victim—Margorie Ann Holland, 37—was from Faribault.
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According to the criminal complaint against Holland:
Apple Valley police were called to an apartment on 157th Street West on the morning of March 7 on report of a female in cardiac arrest. The caller told dispatch that a pregnant woman was at the bottom of a flight of stairs, unconscious. The woman was not breathing and her body was cold to the touch.
When officers arrived three minutes later, Holland ran to meet them, yelling "She is in here, please help."
Officers found Margorie Ann Holland lying on her back at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Her arms were slack at her sides, with the palms facing up. The victim's hands were darker than the rest of her body, and there was dried blood on one of her nostrils. As resuscitation efforts progressed, officers noted that scrapes and dark purple bruises covered the woman knees. There seemed to be friction burns on both of her elbows. Her face was dotted with small red-purple marks.
There was no blood present in the area around the victim.
Backstrom said in a press conference that Roger Holland said he went to get breakfast at McDonald's at the request of his wife that morning. There was spilled orange juice and a McDonald's bag near the victim at the scene.
Margorie Holland was transported to Fairview Ridges Hospital. She was declared dead at 11:24 a.m. She was 15 weeks pregnant at the time.
Holland allegedly told police that his relationship with his wife was good and that they did not have any financial problems. Both had served overseas with the National Guard. They had been married for three years, he told police. However, Backstrom said in a press conference Monday afternoon that Margorie's family says they had been married for two years, but were together a year before that.
When asked about several scratches on his face and neck, Holland said that his wife had complained of abdominal cramping on the morning of her death. He said and that she'd accidentally scratched him in the face during a spasm of pain. He claimed that he'd gone out for to pick up food at her request. When he returned home, he found her face down on the floor, wrapped in a blanket, he said.
Hundreds of texts messages between the two called Holland's account into question. While perusing the pair's phone records, officers found numerous arguments between Holland and the victim about money and his unauthorized use of the victim's credit cards. Margorie Holland frequently accused Holland of lying to her, and even mentioned divorce the night before she died. In one exchange on March 1, Holland asked how she felt and she texted back "Like I hate my life, I hate the man I married, and I wish I could erase the past three years."
Police also found a suspicious data entry on Holland's phone, dated March 6, which may have been related to an internet search: "if you pass out and fall down a flight of stairs can you breakyour neckcan your neck be broken if you are."
The medical examiner determined that Margorie Holland's internal injuries indicated strangulation after a struggle. Her body was covered in bruises, scratches and abrasions. One of her fingernails had broken off and a black eye was forming on her face. Cartilage in her neck was broken, an injury that suggested she had been forcefully throttled, investigators said. The medical examiner also observed hemorrhaging in her neck muscles and petechiae in her eyes, injuries which are also consistent with strangulation.
Judge Edward Lynch has set Holland's bond at $1 million, an amount that will be reduced to $750,000 if he agrees to surrender his passport and remain in Minnesota. Holland, who has no previous criminal record, is scheduled for a Wednesday, March 13 court appearance.