Associated Press , Published March 11 2013
Minnesota husband charged in death of wife, fetusHASTINGS, Minn. — A Minnesota man was charged Monday with killing his pregnant 37-year-old wife and her fetus after the woman was found last week lying at the foot of a staircase in the couple's suburban apartment.
The Dakota County attorney's office charged Roger Earl Holland, 36, with two counts of second-degree intentional murder — one count in his wife's death and one in her unborn child's death. Bail was set at $1 million, or $750,000 with conditions.
Holland called 911 last Thursday to report finding his wife, Margorie Ann Holland, in cardiac arrest at the foot of a staircase in their Apple Valley apartment, prosecutor James Backstrom said in a news release. Margorie Holland, who was nearly four months pregnant, and her unborn child died at a hospital later that morning.
Roger Holland told police he left the apartment to get breakfast for himself and his wife and when he returned he found her face-down on the floor, wrapped in a blanket and unconscious at the bottom of the steps. Holland said he rolled his wife over and began CPR before calling 911.
Roger Holland told police his relationship with his wife of two years was good and that the couple, who moved into their two-story town house in December 2012, did not have financial problems, according to the prosecutor's office. The Hollands were both members of the Texas National Guard and had been deployed together to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa last year. Roger Holland previously was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, Backstrom said.
But officers searched the couple's cellphones and found a number of deleted text messages showing arguments about money and Holland's unauthorized use of his wife's credit card, according to the criminal complaint. A text message from Margorie Holland the night before she died said she planned to divorce her husband, the complaint said.
Roger Holland's defense attorney, Marsh Halberg, said his client has a distinguished military career and no criminal record or history of abuse. He said the couple had everything to live for.
An autopsy found broken cartilage in Margorie Holland's neck was consistent with strangulation, not a fall down stairs, the prosecutor's office said. She also had bruises, abrasions, friction burns, a broken thumbnail on her right hand and a bump on her forehead, the complaint said.
A police officer saw Roger Holland had scratches on the left side of his face and neck. Holland told police he was rubbing his pregnant wife's back to help her with abdominal cramping when she suffered an episode of cramping and accidentally scratched him, the complaint said.
Police found a text exchange between the couple's phones about food between 9:29 a.m. and 9:32 a.m. Thursday, but video surveillance at the apartment building shows Roger Holland did not leave the apartment until 9:34 a.m., the complaint said. Officers also found a data entry on Roger Holland's phone that may have been related to an Internet search on Wednesday about whether someone's neck could be broken by passing out and falling down a flight of stairs, according to the complaint.
Backstrom said he plans to convene a grand jury to consider indicting Roger Holland for first-degree murder.
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