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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Looking for information on Fred Holiwell 

If someone wants to know about Fred Holiwell, I'm ready.

From In re Williams (1994):

Petitioner, along with three others, robbed and murdered a convenience store employee. Two weeks later, he robbed and murdered three members of a family who owned and operated a motel. At trial, petitioner was linked to these crimes by: (i) immunized testimony of Alfred Coward, one of petitioner's cohorts in the first killing, who testified that petitioner shot the store employee, and that petitioner told the others he did so because he did not want to leave witnesses; (ii) Coward's additional testimony that petitioner {Page 7 Cal.4th 580} laughed hysterically and mimicked the noises made by the store employee as he died; (iii) the testimony of a firearms expert that shotgun casings found at the scene of the motel murders were from a gun purchased by petitioner; (iv) immunized testimony by Samuel Coleman, who testified that petitioner told him on the day after the killings that he had killed some people who lived on Vermont Street (the site of the motel); (v) the testimony of both James and Esther Garrett, in whose home petitioner stayed approximately five days a week during the period in question, that petitioner admitted killing some "Chinese people" on Vermont Street; and (vi) the testimony of Esther Garrett that petitioner admitted the killings, and said he used the money to purchase the drug "PCP." (People v. Williams, supra, 44 Cal.3d at pp. 1134-1136.) fn. 1....

FN 1 Petitioner presented an alibi defense. Beverly McGowan claimed she was with petitioner on the night of the store employee's murder. Petitioner's stepfather, Fred Holiwell, and a fellow inmate, Eugene Riley, testified they saw petitioner at the Showcase Bar at the time of the motel killings.

From the Ninth Circuit:

Alfred Coward, an immunized government witness, testified to the events leading to the murder of Albert Lewis Owens,1 an employee of a 7-Eleven store in Whittier, California. See id. at 905.

Coward stated that at approximately 10:30 p.m. on February 27, 1979, Williams dropped by Coward’s house. The two men then went to James Garrett’s house, where Williams was staying. Only Williams went inside, returning with a sawed-off shotgun and accompanied by a man named Darryl. The three men made several stops, including one to obtain “Sherms,” cigarettes containing phencyclidene (“PCP”). After sharing a Sherm, the three picked up Tony Simms. Williams then had a second Sherm with Coward and Simms, and asked Simms if he knew where they could “make money.” See id.

Coward testified that, taking two cars, the four men made two unsuccessful restaurant and liquor-store robbery attempts. Subsequently, they went to a 7-Eleven where Owens was sweeping the parking lot. Simms and Darryl went into the store, followed by Owens, Williams, and Coward. Williams, the only one with a weapon, approached Owens and ordered him to keep walking. Owens walked toward the back rooms of the store with Williams and Coward following him. Williams instructed Owens to lie down, which he did. Williams shot out the store’s television monitor and then shot and killed Owens. See id.

According to Coward, the four men returned to Simms’s house where they divided among them the $120 that they had taken from the 7-Eleven cash register. When Simms asked Williams why he had shot Owens, Williams responded that he did not want to leave any witnesses. He also said that the shotgun shells could not be traced, and that he had retrieved a few of them. See id.

Coward saw Williams later that morning at Williams’s brother’s home. Williams told his brother about Owens, saying: “You should have heard the way he sounded when I shot him.” Williams then made a growling noise and laughed hysterically for a number of minutes. See id....

Robert Yang and his family lived in and owned the Brookhaven Motel on South Vermont Street in Los Angeles, California. At about 5 a.m. on March 11, 1979, Yang heard a woman’s screams and three or four shots. A few minutes later, he left his bedroom and saw that the door separating the motel office from the family’s living quarters was ajar. The door seemed to have been forced open from the outside. Yang discovered his father, mother, and sister, all fatally wounded from shotgun fire. The cash drawer was open and empty. See id. at 906.

The police found two shotgun shell casings at the scene. A firearms expert testified that one of the shells could only have been fired from a weapon that Williams had purchased in 1974. See id.

Four witnesses provided testimony identifying Williams as a perpetrator of the Brookhaven Motel murders and robbery.

Samuel Coleman, testifying as an immunized government witness, stated that on March 10, 1979 he and Williams went to the Showcase Bar, where Coleman remained until it closed around 6 a.m. Coleman last remembered seeing Williams at about 2:30 a.m. The next day, Williams told Coleman that he had robbed and killed some people on Vermont Street. Williams said that he had obtained approximately $50 from the robbery-murder and was going to use it to buy PCP. See id.

James Garrett testified that Williams kept some of his possessions at the Garrett house and stayed there approximately five days a week. Early on the morning of March 13, 1979, Williams told James Garrett and his wife that he had heard of the killing of some “Chinese people” on Vermont Street. Williams said that he did not know how the murders had occurred, but thought that the murderers were professionals because they had left no shells or witnesses at the scene. Williams also stated that he had heard that the killings had taken place at 5 a.m., and that two men had knocked down the door and taken $600. See id.

Williams later spoke to James Garrett a second time about the Brookhaven Motel murders and robbery. Williams described the incident, saying: “[A]fter the big guy knocked the door down, he went in the motel, and there was a guy laying on the couch, and he blew him away.” Williams said that the man on the couch and a woman at the cash register were shot twice, and that another woman was also shot. James Garrett testified that Williams then indicated that he was the “big guy.” See id.2

Esther Garrett confirmed the statements made by her husband. She testified that Williams informed them that the Brookhaven Motel murderers were using the money taken from the cash register to buy “juice,” or PCP, and that they had picked up the shotgun shells so that there would be no evidence for the police. Williams also told Esther Garrett, outside the presence of her husband, that he, Williams, had committed the murders with his brother-in-law. See id.

Williams presented an alibi defense. Beverly McGowan testified that she and Williams had dined and spent the night together on February 27, 1979, the night of Owens’s murder. See id.

Fred Holiwell, Williams’s stepfather, testified that he arrived at the Showcase Bar at around 3:30 a.m. on March 11, 1979, the morning of the Brookhaven Motel murders and robbery. He stated that he thought he saw Williams in the Showcase Bar parking lot area at about 5 a.m. Holiwell remembered seeing Williams at the Showcase Bar on this particular night because Williams had been involved in an altercation that resulted in a cut across Williams’s chest. See id.

Eugene Riley, an inmate in the same cell block as Williams, testified that he saw Williams in the parking lot of the Showcase Bar at about 5 a.m. on March 11, 1979. Riley gave Williams a ride home at approximately 5:30 a.m. and said that Williams was smoking a Sherm at the time....

To support his procedural-due-process claim, Williams relies upon a portion of a preliminary-hearing transcript that shows him failing to respond to questioning by the trial judge. The transcript reads as follows:

THE COURT: And I think that you personally do not have the money, Mr. Williams, to hire an attorney; is that right? You don’t have a bank account where you can go out and pour out the dough, right?

THE DEFENDANT: (The defendant shakes his head negatively.)

THE COURT: You better say “no” so the lady can put it down. Do you want to speak up? Mr. Williams? Did you understand what I’m saying, Mr. Williams?

THE DEFENDANT: (No audible response.)

THE COURT: Does he get in these moods frequently, Mr. Holiwell, where he won’t speak?

MR. HOLIWELL: Well, he’s been on PCP. And ever since then, he really been [sic] — since then he just haven’t [sic] been on alert. He go [sic] into strange moods.

THE COURT: All right. Well, I am aware that at least he’s alert and looking at me. And he’s not choosing to respond to my words. But I can’t say he’s understanding what I say.

MR. HOLIWELL: Can I speak to him?

THE COURT: Yes. Go ahead.

MR. HOLIWELL: Stan, you have to say something to tell the lady what you want to do. Tell the judge what you want to do.

DEFENDANT: What was the question?

THE COURT: You do not have the money personally to hire your own attorney?


THE COURT: Okay. Thank you, Mr. Williams. Thank you, Mr. Holiwell.

After this colloquy, Fred Holiwell, Williams’s stepfather, notified the trial judge that Williams needed “some psychiatric help.” The trial judge responded that he would appoint psychiatrists to examine Williams. Subsequently, the trial judge ordered two psychiatrists, Dr. Alfred Coodley and Dr. Michael Coburn, to interview Williams and report to the court on his competence to stand trial and on the validity of his insanity plea, which Williams later withdrew.16

After conducting a psychiatric interview with Williams, and after reviewing the police report and the transcripts of the preliminary hearings, Dr. Coodley concluded that Williams was neither incompetent to stand trial nor insane at the time of the alleged offenses. Dr. Coodley reported to the trial judge that Williams “is presently able to understand the nature and purpose of the proceedings taken against him. He is presently able to cooperate in a relatively rational manner with counsel in presenting a defense.” Dr. Coodley also informed the court that he “[did] not feel there is sufficient evidence to state that the defendant was insane by the A.L.I. rule at the time of commission of the alleged offenses.”

Dr. Coburn likewise reviewed the police report and the preliminary-hearing transcripts, but conducted only a limited interview with Williams. Unbeknownst to Dr. Coburn at the time of the interview, Williams had recently withdrawn his insanity plea. Thus, Williams declined to speak with Dr. Coburn about the alleged offenses, as he had with Dr. Coodley, until he consulted with his attorney.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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