A lawyer is arguing his client was just “unlucky” after authorities found a severed head and torso in his client’s stolen truck.
As reported by the Daily Bulletin, the string of events that led to Mike Holland’s apparent bad luck started with a rather normal traffic stop on December 23. Las Vegas police stopped Holland in a Toyota Tundra after finding that the truck’s registration was suspended. Holland didn’t stop giving way to a chase with cops, including a random and confusing switch of vehicles.
Officers followed the truck for about three miles and saw it go into a parking garage next to the Rio hotel & casino. A short time later, another truck, a Chevrolet Avalanche, came out of the garage.
Believing it was the same driver, the police followed the Chevy truck for two more miles, until it stopped at an apartment complex near the Orleans casino.
There Holland got out and repeatedly ignored commands given by police, according to court documents. When he attempted to flee, he was stunned with a taser and detained, police said.
Police would eventually learn that both trucks had been reported stolen, and found human remains in a trash bag inside the Avalanche. The body was later identified as 65-year-old Richard P. Miller, who was later determined to have been killed by multiple gunshot wounds, including a gunshot wound to the head.
The lawyer for Holland is taking the random happenstance defense, a defense that makes sense, but is a pretty bold claim to make when facing murder accusations. From the Las Vegas Review Journal:
In order to believe that he had knowledge of what was inside that vehicle, you would have to believe that he intentionally led the police to the evidence,” Eric Holland’s defense attorney, David Westbrook, said following a bail hearing. “Why would he do that?
Holland’s lawyer is also arguing that police should have obtained a search warrant before searching the vehicle. Westbrook says that Holland didn’t know the body parts were in the vehicle and there was no evidence that showed he did.
However, the prosecution says they have surveillance video from Home Depot showing Holland buying trash bags. Prosecution also countered by saying that police are allowed to do an inventory search of a vehicle that has been reported stolen and is about to be impounded. Police may have also had probable cause (look to page 7) given the circumstances.
The next court appearance for Holland is January 27th.