A very healthy thirty one year old just winds up dead. A young father's death so sudden, so strange, we wanted answers, the word poisoning just kept coming up. It was antifreeze poisoning. You can't smell it. You can't see it. Someone wanted him dead. Someone who was hiding something. The details of the case are very salacious. There's sex. There's the allegation of poisoning. Cleaned out the bank account. Are you trying to give me a.
But brother determined to find a killer. How dare anybody do that to my little brother? It wasn't supposed to happen like this. A toxic mystery. An emotional trial. Is the jury being out long, a bad thing or a good thing? It was a mystery from day one, from that time right around the end of the hockey season, didn't make sense. What was happening to Matt Pottle back, Matt, the hockey hockey Abitur, Matt the outdoorsman, the hunter, the fisherman athlete to make sense from the very first day that people like woke up in the morning with that pain in his back.
And after what happened in the hospital a couple of months later, nothing made sense.
After that. Though God knows there were accusations, oh, yes, plenty of those and a brother, Mark, for whom the story, the mystery became a kind of obsession, it's had quite an effect on me.
But the story of what happened about Pawlak is one of those that, well, you be the judge. Let's begin in the spring of 2006. That was 31 years old, maybe more than ever, he was loving the intense male roughness of amateur hockey. He was number 10 and he was good at it, even managed to keep all his teeth.
He started to take it up when he was in high school, and that was really one of his loves.
Mark Potter, like was just a little older, a little more academically accomplished than his kid brother, maybe.
But Mark loved him, loved him for what he was. He was a good kid.
I mean, he didn't get in any trouble. And be honest with you, my dad is a cop, so he sort of put the fear of God into me and my brother when we grown up.
Matt told his mom, Patricia, he was going to join the police force when he came home to Brooklyn after a stint at the Navy.
Brooklyn, Ohio, by the way, it's one of the towns around the edge of Cleveland.
Matthew always wanted to be a police officer ever since he was little.
His dad, Leon, was a 39 year veteran of the Brooklyn PD. There was a point in time where it looked like we may even work together, that life is full of disappointments.
Matt didn't get the call. And so instead he went to work for his uncle, who's Phoenix industrial powder coated engine parts for Ford and other companies. What did you think of that job of yours over at the factory?
The thing that excited him about it was that he was going to take over. My uncle was kind of grooming him to become the boss.
But what Matt wanted, perhaps most of all, was a family. And so when he met Holly, all he make feature when Matthew fell in love, he fell one hundred and ten percent. And he really loved Holly. There are some people who plan out their lives very carefully. Those people may have taken issue with Matt and Holly, whose daughter Samantha was born, give or take, nine months after they made the marriage part would come later. They decided he loved me and that he loved that little girl and loved Holly.
Holly loved him. Holly told her sister Chris the story, how they eventually got engaged. It was during a romantic weekend in Niagara Falls. Just before Samantha was born. Holly was preparing a bubble bath and she couldn't hear because the faucets running. And here's Matt down on his knee like, hello?
And then she realized, oh, my gosh, you're proposing that is a kind of a romantic roles.
I thought so. The bubbles. And I thought that was pretty romantic.
After Samantha came along, Matt and Holly, now engaged, went to Vegas to witness a friend's wedding. When Kurylenko did you almost make it a foursome wedding as well?
Oh, yeah, actually, yes. Holly and Matt said we should do a double double wedding, but Holly knew that her family would not be happy with that. So I think that's what made them not get married, didn't get married.
But something happened in Vegas nine months after that.
Josh was born from what Holly has told me, Josh was planned in Vegas.
Ready or not, Matt was now the father of Samantha and the baby boy he nicknamed Little Man and Paul daughter from a previous relationship.
Big changes in a very short time. And by the end of the hockey season, a lot of things started going wrong. Josh was still very new that had colicky, that was stressed. And with that young family to support, he'd gone and lost money gambling on the Internet. He complained of feeling depressed, so depressed his doctor prescribed anti-depressants. And that's about when it started the pain that his spasms of back pain. He ignored it, figured it would go away on its own, but it just got worse.
After weeks of this, Holly insisted he go see a doctor.
He had been complaining of pain and she finally said, You need to go. Obviously, something's not right. So she she basically, you know, had to drag him there.
Kidney stones was the diagnosis. The doctor gave my heart pills to help dissolve them. Four days later, he took a turn for the worse, way worse. Holly called her father, Matt's father, and nine one one I got a call from Holly says something's wrong with Matt.
So I talked to Matt and he says, Dad, I don't feel good. I fell off the couch. I really did. Yes. And we'll get an ambulance. Holly's father, Mike, just arrived and followed the ambulance with Holly to the hospital where things went bad fast. It was nerve racking because all we kept hearing about was, OK, they're trying to dial in on his kidney issue. Well, then that medication was making his heart go.
So then they try to address the heart and kept seesawing back and forth and. Nobody seems to know really what it was causing, you know, Matt faded in and out of consciousness. Doctors told Holly and family members to go home, get some rest, and then a few hours later, they called everybody back to the hospital. Right away, they said one look at the ICU and big brother Mark felt his world come apart when I saw him in the hospital is something I won't forget.
It seemed like he was in a coma. I knew if he made it through, it wouldn't it wouldn't be the same.
And everyone felt a particular kind of helplessness knowing something was killing him, but not knowing how could they what it was.
A family. Simple question which will take seven years to answer. How can you go into the hospital for kidney stones and then die? And hours later. The end came on Monday morning, July 31st, 2006, there in the ICU, the mysterious ailment that attacked Matt Podolsk overwhelms his defenses completely.
I got a call and I said, you better get here because he's gone into full arrest. And we we revived him already once. So when I got there, it was just downhill.
That's fiancee Holly McPhee to begged the doctors, keep trying.
And Holly said, don't stop, don't stop. And saying, Matt, don't leave me.
It was no use. And once the doctor or nurse stepped away, Holly just lunged on Matt and just wouldn't let go. They actually had to pull her off of his body.
He was just 31 years old and now his children were fatherless. And Holly, a single mother of three at the funeral, said her sister, she did not take it well. Holly was sitting in her car for about 20 minutes following her rise up before she even went in. I don't know how I would be able to do that myself. Go in and see him lying there in the casket at the Holy Son.
Josh was just six months old and he cried a lot. So said Chrissy. Holly repeatedly had to leave the reception line to care for her colicky baby.
She was in the basement with Josh because she was nursing. She had to still take care of her kids and show them that she had to be strong.
Holly's friend Rebecca Baker did what she could to help, especially with that little boy so young, this poor baby, he would have never known his father.
How could this happen? All of a sudden, a very healthy thirty one year old young man just winds up dead. It's kind of strange.
Kind of strange. It certainly was. Matt's brother Mark couldn't stop thinking about how strange it was. He had kidney stones. How can you go into the hospital for kidney stones and then died hours later?
Exactly what the coroner was wondering when he had a look at some of the damage to Matt's organs as if he had been exposed to some toxic chemicals in his environment that had worked for four years for his uncle's Phoenix industrial supervised assembly line involved in painting and powder coating any toxic chemicals there.
The coroner called Holly to ask that her friend, Lynn Kuriko, the coroner, told her a lot of the chemical compounds were very similar to what the chemical compound was that they found on him.
Right after that, Holly called Matt's uncle, the man who owned the factory, saying that my brother needed to call the coroner so that he can blame what Matthew was exposed to.
But soon after, the coroner talked to my uncle, after he got a proper list of the chemicals that used to be pretty much ruled out, any industrial cause, all those chemicals were safe to work with.
They were OSHA approved and they had masks to wear.
So if not, that was perhaps a cause, unhappily all too common when death occurs in one.
So Young got a depressed young man overwhelmed by his sudden responsibilities and the pain of his kidney stones decided to end it all. It was a coroner's investigator who brought up the subject with my mother and she was questioning me.
Would Matthew have committed suicide?
Never said his mother, never. But it was. His family had to admit a not unreasonable question, given Matt's depression at all. Even though Mark believed his brother had that under control.
He went to a doctor to to get some help with that. The doctor gave him some antidepressants. Did that help? I thought it did. He he seemed to be better.
But then Matt had a new family. Now you know how it is. Matt was spending most of his time with Holly and the kids and her parents, they said. So maybe Mark didn't know. Did he go to his own parents house very often? I don't recall him talking about that much.
His connection didn't seem to be that close then.
It didn't seem to me. And Mark didn't know, not then anyway, that Matt actually asked a friend to remove his hunting guns from his house as if he was afraid perhaps he might harm himself.
Was he really thinking about killing himself? From what I heard, yes. I heard that he was having thoughts. He had told Holly.
I think he actually told my dad just as she insisted he see the doctor for kidney stones. It was Holly, said her sister, who insisted he get help for his depression. She. Had sent him to the doctor and got him on medication for that as well. What happened to Matt Bonlac? Who knew? Apparently not the coroner who still not issued any official report. And then finally, three months after Matt's death, Mark got a call from his mother come to a family meeting.
She told him she refused to tell him what would be said there, because I knew he would be very, very upset.
The news was too bizarre, too shocking to share over the phone. The coroner's report makes it clear that death wasn't just strange, it was also highly suspicious. It was my mission to find an answer for this. There were just the two of them, Big Brother Mark and the kid, he looked out for his little brother Matt, and now Matt was dead and nothing made sense to Mark Potter. Like, there's no way that a guy is going to go into the hospital with kidney stones and you're going to die because of kidney stones.
Three months after his death, Matt Battleaxe family gathered for a meeting. Matt's mother arranged it beforehand. She told Mark they'd be discussing a possible wrongful death suit against the hospital where Matt died.
My mom called me over and she said, we're going to talk with a lawyer tonight. We're going to find out our next steps, what's going to happen.
But Mark's mother wasn't exactly straight with her son. That was not what was going to happen. So when I got to her house, the whole family was there and I was like, where's the lawyer? And she's like, she's not here. No lawyer. Something far more disturbing, the autopsy report. Matt's mother did not want her surviving son hearing about this over the phone, afraid of how he'd react.
The whole family was there as a support thing and they said, we got the coroner's report back and I was antifreeze poisoning and I kind of lost it. Antifreeze poisoning. That's just yeah.
The correct phrase for this at the coroner's report was chronic intoxication by ethylene glycol, ethylene glycol being the active and toxic ingredient in antifreeze.
So I was like, what is what does that mean? Ethylene glycol is antifreeze, but chronic. And so, you know, it happened over a period of time. So once that kind of set in, I was shocked. I was speechless.
And that's when something profound happened to Mark Podell and maybe right that moment, a decision snapped into place from that moment on when we found out. It was my mission to find out, find an answer for this, a mission complicated by the fact there was one very big question the coroner couldn't answer was Matt's death the result of some terrible mistake or suicide or was it murder? Nobody knew. And so the coroner labeled the manner of death undetermined. Across town, that's fiancee Holly was getting the news to Holly's sister, Christine.
What did she say?
What can you say? What do you mean? There's any freeze in this system. We were all thinking it was kidney failure. We were not expecting that.
Was it really possible that Matt somehow ingested small amounts of antifreeze for a period of weeks, if not longer? That was the implication of the phrase chronic ethylene glycol poisoning. Mark had already made up his mind that his brother did not commit suicide and certainly not gradual suicide. What did he have to go on? So far?
Only a growing suspicion and rage, which he made perfectly clear to the police.
I finally got a hold of the the detective on the case, and he he did some initial stuff, but it wasn't the follow through that I had hoped. Maybe that was just because that I was just grieving and I was so upset.
But when something like that happens, you want the whole world to stand up and pay attention and do something when something like that happens.
I want every member of Cleveland Police Department to be on on it. And it seemed like nobody was it didn't seem that way now. It just it just started to go on. And I I became extremely frustrated.
Matt's father, Lynn, a former cop himself, could see the problem. The case file was stuck.
It kind of became a catch 22 situation. The coroner said he couldn't label it a homicide without more evidence from the police.
Well, at the very same time, Cleveland Homicide was saying that they can't investigate it as a homicide until the coroner rules it a homicide.
And so it remained month after month, year into year. And still, the manner of death was listed as undetermined. Just like Mark Matt's father, lan made something of a pest of himself.
I would call the detective that was assigned to the case and say whatever he got in his standard answer to me was, I don't have anything. What have you got? I was, well, this is your job, not my job.
You know, not I like the way Matt's fiancee Holly was thinking.
She was upset, you know, that there was no nobody's doing. Yes. Yeah. None of our family was interviewed. It's like they were letting it go. Exactly.
But Holly had three children to raise alone. Police versus corner politics was not exactly uppermost in her mind. To make ends meet.
She took on two and sometimes three jobs at the same time and threw herself into coaching her children's Little League Baseball team.
Meanwhile, Mark kept hounding investigators, but getting nowhere. Made me feel like there was nothing mean done.
It made me feel like there was a my brother's case was on a on a desk of somebody who could care less and was counting down the days to his retirement.
But though Mark was getting nowhere, Holly was hearing things not from the police. Remember the plant where Matt supervised other workers? What was really going on around the powder coating machines?
Holly and her sister had their own theory about how Matt died. There were some people at his job that may have not liked him. He was supposed to get a promotion. And I think there were some people that didn't think he deserved think he deserved it where they write.
A big feature was up against big time, three kids, two still in diapers. She lost the father of her children. The police couldn't seem to figure out what happened to him, didn't seem even to be trying a little bit of cash left over. And that checking account was soon gone. Eventually match Work-Based life insurance paid out ten thousand. But that was way off yet, and it wouldn't be very much so. In the meantime, she did what she had to do.
She took on several jobs at a time, even babysat for neighbors when she had a spare hour or two, the children needed food. They still needed a roof over their heads. And that's exactly what she was doing. She was paying their bills and making sure that kids were taken care of.
And the thing is, holy make feature loved kids, not just her own.
Well, that passion was playing hockey all. He was coaching Little League Baseball. She threw herself into it after Matt's death. Baseball is how Rebecca Vega met Holly. Our kids were in Little League together at that time. That was the spring of 2006 before Matt died. Their oldest girls were school classmates and sports teammates.
And Holly, she was a friendly in a way that it was intoxicating. I guess it was like an intoxicating friendliness. You just want to be around her. You did. You did. You wanted to be around her. Being around Holly was how Rebecca met Matt, actually, and then one day I tagged along with Holly to one of the kids t ball games. He was already sick. By that time, though, nobody knew yet how sick he was sitting under this tree all alone, said Rebecca.
Watching the game.
You could tell he didn't feel well. You could tell that he was in pain.
He shifted in the chair quite often, and four days later, Matt was dead after the funeral. Rebecca tried to comfort Holly and help with the kids if she needed help with their children, if the children needed something.
Yeah, there was just to kind of help her when the coroner's report came out and shocked everybody. Holly told Rebecca, of course, right away.
What do you think when you heard that he died of antifreeze poisoning, kind of put the mystery of how does a healthy 31 year old actually pass suddenly?
You know, I was poisoned, but who would want to poison that bottle at just a regular guy? No enemies, no known enemies. Anyway, Holly told Rebecca the police didn't seem to be doing anything to find out, but that she had some leads of her own and she suspected somebody at work.
She had suspected some somebody at work. And eventually she told Rebecca the police did, too.
They thought that somebody poisoned him at work. The word poison just kept coming up.
Sister Christie heard the rumors, too. Why would they do such a thing?
There were some people at his job that may have not liked him. It was his uncle's company. And people I think we're a little jealous. He was supposed to get a promotion. And I think there were some people that didn't think he deserved think he deserved it.
Increasingly, Holly and members of her family became all but convinced that somebody at work found a way to put antifreeze into that drink or something. And if that phrase in the coroner's report was true, chronic ethylene glycol intoxication, that somebody would have done it several times.
But one person who wasn't buying that theory was Matt's brother, Mark. He didn't have any enemies. Matt had worked his way up from the production line to supervisor at the plants at Mark, and he was well-liked by the people at Phoenix Industrial.
He wasn't this guy that was going around picking fights with people. He was loved by his coworkers.
By then, solving the case of his brother's murder had become Mark's obsession. He collected stories from manufactory co-workers, from the streets, from friends.
He fumed when the official investigation seemed to go nowhere. And then after three frustrating years, one small change that made a huge difference. A new supervisor in the Cleveland Homicide Division took Overmatch case, his name, Detective Sergeant Mike Quinn. So at the time you took it over, I took it over in three years, push it three years.
And I reviewed the file with fresh eyes. Quinn went over the case, reinterview people who knew both Matt and Holly. And suddenly I felt a completely different sense of what was happening. Now, so far, what he called was questions or suggestions. He felt like somebody was listening, especially when he told them what he was hearing on the street.
I was trying, hey, maybe this is something that could help you. Maybe you should look into this. You heard about things. Absolutely. It was a really close knit town. So people talk. There's chatter out there. Strange how that chatter seemed to focus on one particular person, a possible motive for murder.
She wrote checks, writing his name on her checks, cleaned out the bank account. And what does that say to you? Obviously, a huge red flag. Three years after Matt Podolsk died of antifreeze poisoning, two families had sharply differing theories about the cause. Matt's fiancee, Holly. Her whole family, in fact, suspected somebody at work had it out for him. But Mark and his family were looking closer to home. How close? Let's put it this way.
The two sides of the family weren't talking anymore. And already existing mistrust ramped up that night in the hospital years before when Matt was in the ICU. That's when Match Brother Mark began to wonder if Holly was in some way responsible for Matt's mystery illness.
My mom and I had a specific conversation. I remember it. Just don't think she could have did this to him, to you. And we kind of were like, I don't know, maybe. But at the time we didn't know why he passed.
And then there was the funeral. Holly's family said she was very upset, cried in the car before going in. But when Sergeant Gwynne read the old case file, he found a curious statement from Holly's friend, Rebecca Verka. What sort of grief was this?
She was back and forth talking to different individuals, almost like a flirtatious, that intoxicating friendliness that she had, as if her fiance wasn't even laying there in front of everyone, talking to just everybody, or was she concentrating on men or women or mostly men flirtatiously flirtatious?
That's how she was, said Matt's family, how she always was at first friendly, magnetic even, but didn't stay that way for long. Later, Matt told them Holly became controlling, demanding. Did he ever complain about his relationship?
Of course he did. Yeah, he he did. But he said she's nagging me type thing. She's yelling at me. She's calling me all the time. She's doing all this stuff. There were some incidents that happened some times where they had to have police show up.
Matt's protective big brother called it downright nasty. The way she treated him said so, too.
It's not worth the heartache to keep going through this. He was afraid that he wouldn't see his kids if they were apart.
And now he was dead and his family was raw with suspicion. When they went to collect some of Matt's personal effects, like his computer, they told Sergeant Quinn all. He told them she no longer had it, that the hard drive was being fixed, which sounded fishy to the detective. Was this any effort to destroy evidence? That's what most people do when they get rid of a computer and that may have been connected with the crime. They're going to get rid of it.
Not evidence, really, but suggestive, like when, according to them, Holly said right after Matt died, he wanted to be cremated and idea match family quickly shot down. Still, why would she have said that?
And then they said when they asked her for his clothes and other effects, she told them she'd already gotten rid of them.
It was as if she wanted to erase Matt from her life. Was there anything left of this guy at all in her house? Not that I'm aware of, not too much.
And there was the business about the money, the big deal that the detective Quinn, she went to the ATM machine and used his card the day after his death. Two days later, she wrote checks, writing his name on the checks, cleaned out the bank account, left one penny in it. Wow. What did that say to you? Obviously, a huge red flag.
It was a measure of the suspicion, the broken trust that Matt's mother in charge of his estate reported Holly to the police. Holly was arrested and charged with theft of two counts of forgery. She agreed to make restitution and was put on probation for a year. In return, prosecutors dropped the charges. What happened to what was the sentence?
She was given a first time offenders program, so she didn't do any jail time.
And there was the life insurance wasn't much, including Matt's 401k amounted to just fifteen thousand dollars. But here's what made Matt's brother Mark suspicious. My brother was talking about a couple days before removing her from a life insurance policy, removing her from as a beneficiary of the policies and the 401k. And that's how serious it was getting.
And so when Holly actually got ten thousand of that insurance, it seemed to mark to confirm what he had been thinking since the beginning.
She must have killed him. In my mind, there was nobody else. There was no other way that it could have happened. None.
So the first reaction is a shock. What's the second reaction?
Anger and then sadness. How dare anybody do that to my little brother? How dare they? But really, ten thousand in life insurance. A motive for murdering the. The father of your children, what did you think when you heard that, I mean, this was a fairly serious allegation, right? I thought it was ridiculous that somebody would actually think that.
Oh, yes. Paula and her family heard all the whispers. They knew all about the Podell suspicions, which were, they said, absolutely baseless, that business about stealing money from the bank account, for example. Did she understand that she was breaking the law when she did?
Absolutely not. She was thinking that she had to take care of her children and has what else was she supposed to do?
That as for getting rid of his stuff, erasing them from her life, that's not true at all. As a matter of fact, she still has a lot of match shirts that she actually wears. But quietly, four years after March death, Sergeant Quinn collected the stories he heard, but there was one story he hadn't heard nobody had. Holly Story Holly is invited downtown for a little chat with detectives.
Did you give me any type of poison. Now. Four years after Matt Battleaxe death by antifreeze poisoning, the machinery of justice was coughing and sputtering to life and pointing at her. Matt's fiancee and the mother of his children, Holly McQ, feature Holly MCCC feature was a suspect from day one.
Prosecutors were appointed Brian McDonough and Alison Ford, though they were soon frustrated.
But we were missing missing pieces, missing critical links on the case.
Evidence already collected was maddeningly inconclusive. For example, detectives recovered two bottles of antifreeze in the garage where Holly and Matt lived. But it turned out somebody else had been living in the house for more than a year. By the time they found out whose antifreeze was it, nobody knew. But still, was there a way that we could go ahead and link it up? Nope. Just confirmed the garage antifreeze didn't match the antifreeze that killed Matt. But remember Holly's friend, Rebecca Veiga, Detective Quinn found her name in the old file, called her up and discover that after Matt died, she spent practically every day with Holly Hughes, where Detective Quinn's eyes really opened wide.
Rebecca told him that one day she was at Holly's house. What she noticed some odd looking jugs of chemicals in all his kitchen.
She had said that it was antifreeze and that it was Winterreise. Matt.
But did you ask why they were there?
I mean, they'd fixing the boats, but I thought, well, that's in the kitchen. The boat's outside. You know, why would antifreeze be in the kitchen?
And then there was the time she Rebecca was complaining about her husband.
And Holly said, I can get rid of him, I can get rid of him, I can get rid of them. And I kind of thought, oh, that was kind of I kind of joked about it in my laughter. But she actually backed up that statement with, well, you could work and we could just move into your house.
Weird as you look back on that.
So once she heard about the coroner's report and the POTA, like family suspicions, she cut off all contact with Holly, ended the friendship without saying why.
I thought to myself I had exposed my family to murder.
She seemed to me like she believed that that Holly poisoned Matthew. Was she a little freaked out by this? She stated that she was afraid, Holly.
So Gwen kept an eagle eye on Holly Make feature, and one day he heard about Holly and the karaoke bar. Holly and her sister were singing a song by the Dixie Chicks. It's called Earls Got to Die. It's a song about a an abused woman in a relationship with a man who to get back at the man ends up poisoning his food. And they were up there singing the song, laughing about it. This was after Matthew's death. I thought it was really cold blooded when I heard about it.
That was 2010, four years after Matt's death, the same year Sergeant Quinn received a big gift. Maybe it was the fact prosecutors were appointed. Maybe it was Sergeant Quinn's investigation. Maybe it was the karaoke, whatever it was. That's when the coroner changed his ruling on manner of death from undetermined to homicide. And with that little bureaucratic struggle appearance, everything changed. You see that thing?
One, for the very first time, Holly was invited to the police station to give a formal statement.
Holly, we're investigating the death of Matthew Potlatch. The coroner's office has ruled a homicide, chewing gum, looking casual.
Holly came in without a lawyer and was read her Miranda rights.
Are you willing to talk with officers without consulting a lawyer or having a lawyer present with you? Yeah, I don't have anything to hide, I didn't do anything, so.
So what would she say about her relationship with Matt if you ever physically got a couple calls? I know.
And one time I called the cops, he said it happened once she had a male friend over at their house. It was because he assumed something was going on when that wasn't the case. I had a friend over there talking. He didn't like it, we got jealous, she told them if they really wanted to solve the mystery, they should look for answers that match factory.
So did Matthew enemies at work for what he would come forward and tell me. There was a lot of people there that he didn't know about. He was considered one of the supervisors.
Do tell me different stories like how do we get by now and remember the ten thousand in life insurance bandied about as a possible motive for murder ever more poorly said she didn't know there was life insurance until after Max was dead.
As far as I know, the only thing he had at work was his four one statement. I didn't find out that he had life insurance until at the funeral home when his uncle told us the obituary was OK and ended up being made, we found that out.
But how about that night in the karaoke bar? Earles got to die. You know that song. And then laughing about it with the about abusive relationship with the female poisons the man and he goes, it's some. Yes, it's a karaoke song. Wow. Over and over, the detectives challenged Holly with the accusing question, did you give me any type of poison? Now. Did you give Matthew any type of antifreeze? Is it enough to poison?
No, it's not a fact because I didn't do it, I didn't do that, and you haven't told anyone that you put something in Matthew's drinks? Well, I never put anything in his drink, so I would never say.
I think Holly protested. None of this made sense.
She said, this is the father of my children. If the person I was raised by the rest of my life, Michael. And dreams are goals, everything my whole life is completely upside down and I know nothing, and his family just despises and does nothing but evil.
And with that detective, thank you for coming in and sent her on her way with a warning that most likely she'd be indicted.
You don't show up for the arraignment hearing to be a warrant for your arrest. That was late September 2010. But Holly wasn't indicted. Not that year, not the next year either. Something strange happened in 2011. Holly answered her phone and found herself talking to a guy she dated briefly after Mack died. You remember what you told me about the drinks? Did you hear the track snapping shut? Police and prosecutors think they've hit pay dirt with the new witness, but is he enough to take this case to court?
The details of the case are very salacious. There's sex. There's the allegation of poisoning. It's very interesting, but that doesn't make it necessarily a dead bang winner for trial. In the summer of 2011, five years ago, Matt Battleaxe death was still unsolved mystery. All that time, Mark Borderline had neglected his own life in his quest to prove Holly was the killer.
I know that my relationships with my friends suffered ultimately led to me getting divorced. It was destructive on a lot of levels because you focus so much on a certain goal, a certain mission, and you're so damn angry.
And I'm angry, even angrier now if that was possible, because there had been a change. The case was reclassified as a homicide, but Holly was living her life free. No charges filed. I became extremely frustrated.
I'm not going to lie so frustrated. He sent a message to Dateline on Facebook asking us to look into his brother's death.
Holly and her family, meanwhile, were waiting to see if the hammer would fall.
I can't tell you how many times she's cried. Knowing that people are saying, you know, that she's a murderer and that this loving mom and softball coach can kill a man that she loved. But day by day, Sergeant Mike Quinn was closing in on Holly, just one more big thing, one solid piece of evidence, all he needed, and maybe he and the prosecutors decided maybe a jailbird could provide it. Holly briefly dated a man named Jamison Kennedy a year or so after Matt died.
And according to Kennedy, during a wine and sex driven evening, all he made some kind of confession. And this thought the prosecutors was gold. What did he claim he heard? He claimed to have heard Holly feature confess by saying she put something in his drinks. Prosecutor Brian McDonough. And that she wanted to stop, but that his kidneys had failed. And that was compelling evidence, but always something.
Mr. Kennedy was not exactly the local church pastor. His rap sheet was longer than a Sunday sermon.
In fact, when he came up with that little offering about Holly, he was in county jail under arrest for beating up some cops. So a snitch as a prosecutor, we don't like informants.
But what was so compelling about his testimony was that he was the only person to have that knowledge.
How would he have that knowledge? And where would he how would he hear that? He heard that from her lips to his ears. But how could they possibly prove it? One possible way. Sneaky, but it my word. They set up a phone call, Kennedy in prison called Whorley, and they turned on a tape recorder.
Holy crap. You know, this is.
Sometimes these things work, sometimes they don't. So what's going on with you?
Just how it is with investigations of this sort. Suffice to say, the call wasn't everything they hoped it would be. So here they were at a kind of crossroads. So they go forward or finally drop it. The evidence, the story of a jailhouse snitch with multiple felony convictions, never an easy sell.
An ex friend whose talk of antifreeze in the house and offers to get rid of her husband might have been real or imagined a financial motive that it most might have amounted to a paltry 15 grand and a bit of Dixie Chicks karaoke, the performance of which may have been monstrously cruel or perfectly innocent. Still, who else could have done it? The details of the case are very salacious. Prosecutor Allison Foy. There's sex, there's the allegation of poisoning. It's very interesting and it's certainly enough to keep anyone's attention.
But that doesn't make it necessarily a strong case or a dead bang winner for trial.
And so the prosecutors consulted Mark and his family. They were all committed now, all emotionally attached. But the family should decide.
He said, this is where we are. He laid it all out and he said, we can take our shot and see where this goes and you might lose. We might lose. And we all agreed that we wanted to go with it. We've suffered long enough.
Case number five six four six five Hollywood feature.
So in 2012, six years after Matt Battleaxe death, Holly McQ feature was indicted for aggravated murder and contaminating a substance for human consumption from her mug shot. It didn't look like she was too worried about the outcome of the case, but this was serious.
Maximum sentence, life without parole or attorney Brett Jordan applied for bail. She was. Scared she missed her kids. I would say probably in some state of shock at that point, the judge took a look at the circumstantial case against her and granted the bail request, half a million bond with an ankle bracelet.
But so the case was not the strongest.
There was publicity, antifreeze poisoning. Holly was suddenly famous and not in a good way.
The old Brooklyn Little League told the once beloved coach she wasn't welcome anymore. And Holly Mique feature prepared to defend her life in court. Iced tea spiked with antifreeze. The prosecution's theory of how Holly poisoned that, you can't smell it and you can't see it in the tea, he would have no way to know that it's coming. It's so secretive, Don. Seven years, seven years of pestering the investigators, seven years of brooding in the cemetery, seven years after the sudden agonizing death of his kid brother, Matt.
Mark Bowden Black watched with grim satisfaction as Holly Mick feature walked into the courtroom.
I finally felt that we were going to make this happen. Right. Mind you, the case against Holly was possibly a reach. No guarantees here. And Mark knew it. I was extremely nervous. Oh, my gosh.
Being in that courtroom and you don't know how it's going to turn. I have no idea how it's going to turn out.
Truth was, the prosecution didn't have much to work with without any hard evidence to pin on Holly. Their case boiled down to a process of elimination. Someone did this to Matt. Who else could it have been other than his fiancee? In this case, telling a story would be crucial because it wasn't a whole lot else to do, right? Absolutely.
Prosecutor Brian McDonough began his story with the scene inside the hospital room the night Matt died.
His body was shutting down. His organs were systematically shut down and then that's father Leonard Padilla, describe the horror of watching his son's final agonies, so much pain he couldn't talk except to ask for his children.
He would say, we're we're little man. And where's Samantha?
A picture was passed around the courtroom mat dead, lying on the autopsy table. Mark began to cry across the courtroom. So did Holly. And then coroner Diane Goleta told the jury what he found during his autopsy discoveries that became the core of the case against Holly.
The cause of this was chronic intoxication by ethylene glycol poisoned with antifreeze very, very slowly.
He explained he'd found crystals in Matt's heart and brain, having inched their deadly way through his body. Kidneys, the heart, the brain.
How much time would it take for the crystals to deposit themselves in the blood vessels of the heart?
It takes weeks, at least.
The fact that his crystals were forming in his heart and actually had traveled to his brain indicated long term exposure and not a one dose deal.
And that's friends and work. Colleagues testified they had seen his body disintegrate before their eyes, starting weeks, if not months, before his death.
He began sweating profusely and he complained of back pain.
He was sitting beside me and practically was hunched over to whereas his chest was on his knees.
Who could have made that happen and how? Investigators remember had found antifreeze in Holly in Matt's garage. Admittedly, a year after Holly Doubt, prosecutors knew they couldn't link these bottles to the crime. But even so, Detective Quinn took them out of the evidence bags for the jury to see.
He left them on the witness stand, a proper little courtroom theater, a bottle of Saturn antifreeze and coolant.
Take a look at those bottles. The prosecution seemed to be saying and common sense would tell you it wasn't a suicide. Nobody would down antifreeze on purpose, said the prosecutor, let alone bit by bit. As indicated in the coroner's report.
There was no suicide note. He didn't go ahead and give away his possessions. Suicide did not make sense.
No, there was one person, the prosecutor argued, and only one who had the means and the motive to poison Matt, his fiancee, Holly McQ, feature. A parade of witnesses testified about Matt and Holly's rocky relationship. The bitter words, fierce arguments they couldn't help but overhear.
When we would be fishing, that phone would be ringing every five minutes. She'd be screaming so loud he'd be holding the phone out to this way, away from his ear. I told him that he needed to protect himself, and I told him that he should remove his shotgun and from his house. And far from being shattered by match death, as your family claim, prosecution witnesses described how Holly seemed almost giddy after Matt died.
What did you observe that the defendant at the way lost a party atmosphere like nothing had happened?
And then the prosecution called Polly's old friend, Rebecca Vega. If anybody had a ringside seat to Holly's life after Matt, it was Rebecca.
How was it to actually be in that courtroom, see her there and answer those questions? Couldn't even look at her.
Rebecca told the jury how they didn't wait long after match death to remove any trace of him from their house.
It seemed as if everything that had been of Matt had been taken out of the home.
But it was what Holly hadn't cleaned up that make the biggest impression on Rebecca. Those bottles of chemicals on the kitchen floor.
What was Holly's response when you asked her about those items? One of the items was brought up as antifreeze for Matt, both to winterize his boat. I'm sorry to do what? To winterize his boat, but who?
Winterreise is their boat in the summer, remember, that died in July, said the prosecutor.
So Rebecca's story was evidence that Holly had access to antifreeze around the time of Matt's death.
She was able to put antifreeze in the kitchen of Holly Mac feature after the death of Matthew Potlatch.
Now, they needed to convince the jury that Holly actually fed the antifreeze to Matt. That would take a little doing. First, several of my coworkers testified that Holly sometimes dropped off Matt's lunch at the factory. Hollywood, bring it in every once in a while, for how many occasions do you recall that happening? Half a dozen. And Holly always made sure to include Matt's favorite drink. He said half a gallon or more of raspberry iced tea. Antifreeze is sweet, but otherwise tasteless.
Holly Spike, the teen, you can't smell it and you can't see it in the T. He would have no way to know that it's coming.
But why in heaven's name would she do such a thing? What was her motive?
Well, as the prosecution saw it, at least all those arguments Matt and Holly were having represented the death throes of their relationship, a relationship she wanted to leave and he did not stubbornly because he didn't want to lose custody of those kids.
So it's your claim that he was sticking like glue and to get rid of him, she had to poison him. That is what she saw as the way out, a way out.
Sweeten suggested the prosecution by the fact that Holly was the beneficiary of matched life insurance policy and 401k. He was worth fifteen thousand dollars to her if he died.
And that was clearly not a motive. Really obvious chump change, basically, right? Well, fifteen thousand dollars for some person might be worth one hundred and fifty thousand for another.
An interesting theory trick was to persuade the jury that a hardworking, committed young mother, a woman who was always volunteering to help others who coached tee ball teams good at the same time be a devious, cold blooded murderer.
Yep, absolutely possible, said the prosecution's star witness. Still to come, a man who knew all about violence, secrets and kissing and telling Holly melts down in court.
What happened? Way up on the 22nd floor of the criminal courts building here in downtown Cleveland, Holly MC feature sat through a hailstorm of allegations and attacks on her character and motivation. Practically a monster. If you believe some of the witnesses and for the most part, she listened politely, turned occasionally to smile at her sister or share a word of encouragement. And then then the announcement was made.
Your Honor, at this time we have a Jamison case. And those were and Kennedy Holly went into a kind of shock. And then as quickly, even before Kennedy walked into the courtroom, came the tears and something in her seemed to crumble. The tears became wracking, sobs, as if she and full-blown terror or panic simply could not go on. All this happened as the attorneys were at the bench conferring with Judge Brian Corrigan before Saturday's testimony began. Ali left her seat, rushed to her sister Chrissy in the gallery and broke down, and it all happened in front of the jury.
Mark Final was not moved. In fact, he was disgusted.
Where was that emotion during the funeral? Where was that emotion when your lover was dying in the hospital? Yeah, a guy that you haven't seen in years steps into the courtroom. You have an emotional breakdown. That's courtroom drama, in my opinion.
Was she afraid of the man or was she afraid of what he had to say? The whole business was highly unusual. All a visibly shaking was allowed to leave the courtroom while Kennedy testified.
How do you know of Hollywood feature?
I originally met her at a bar that she worked at the dirty dog. Jamison Kennedy was that ex-con Holly dated nearly two years after Manson death, the snitch who had peddled his story from a jail cell. Was it wise to call him as a prosecution witness?
The man had eight felony convictions under his belt, and at the time of the trial, he was serving 10 years for beating up cops. And yet he was central witness against Holly Bass.
An alcoholic is a drug addict and he wants something from you guys. So he'll say whatever he has to say. Right.
The thing about this witness, about James and Kennedy is that he didn't want anything in exchange for what he was going to come into court and say. He knew that he was going to be in prison for quite a while and that nothing he could say in court would ever change that.
And Kennedy story, if the jury chose to believe it was a potential game changer. It was September 26, 2008.
Two years after Matt died, Kennedy was on probation.
He told the jury when Holly stopped by the law office, where a kindly defense attorney had given him a job and a place to sleep, they shared a bottle of wine, eat some takeout. We both were kind of a little bit tipsy after after drinking, we ended up having sex. And after the sex is when things got really emotional, she just started crying. What did she say? She made some remarks that she just wanted it to all go away.
She wanted to move out of Cleveland. She was regretful for what had taken place. Regret about what Kennedy told the jury, that he pushed Holly to tell him more, but she just told me at that time that she was sorry for what she had done.
What had she done? On her words was that she had put something in his drink, what had she put inside of his drink? She didn't tell me. Did she say what happened after putting something inside that he had gotten sick and passed away?
It was quite simply stunning, but big. But was it true? Could the jury really take the word of this eight times convicted felon? Yes, said the prosecution because of this.
Did you tell anyone about what Colin McPhee told you about putting something in his drink? Yes. Who did you tell my attorney?
Well, not exactly that, said the attorney in question, who testified that Kennedy asked him in a cryptic sort of way what he should do if he knew about a murder he didn't name Holley or any particular murder.
Here's an officer of the court did to provide him with any advice.
I told them that if he had any information of that nature, that he had to. And form whomever about this. Suppose that situation, but Kennedy didn't tell authorities anything then, not until he was sitting in a jail cell under arrest for assaulting those cops, did he hope police would go easy on him if he told them something they wanted to hear.
I couldn't get Sergeant Quinn told the jury he believed Kennedy story because Kennedy offered details.
Only someone close to the crime would know there was no mention in the media anywhere. Where did it come from? The fact that this is the one witness who we could bring forward for the jury to say that I heard Holly MC feature confessed to putting something in Matthew Podolsk strings. It's so important that I think in our minds it couldn't not go to the jury. Thank you so much for your time. And with that, the prosecution concluded its case of circumstantial evidence, but it was a giant void in the room, a big empty hole where the hard evidence usually goes.
What would the defense make of that? The defense strikes back. You have no idea how that happened. I didn't have to see physical proof in order to ask a question. You have no idea whatsoever how that man died, do you? Not to my knowledge.
For almost a week, Hallmark features families sat in a courtroom listening to prosecutors accuse Holly of drip by drip, ounce by ounce, feeding her fiancee the poison and watching him die a monstrous evil and set her family completely untrue, just nasty gossip, gussied up as evidence.
It was just a bunch of people talking bad about my sister. Such a one sided burner at the stake type of scenario.
Defense attorneys Brett Jordan and Billy Summers agree. It was all speculation. It was all just finger pointing without any basis.
And now they knew they'd have to persuade the jury to buy something they personally believed in their gut that Holly might feature was wrongly accused.
I don't think I've ever believed in the innocence of a client more than I believe in Holly in the future. The defense began by putting some negative cards on the table. That is the fighting. Holly and Matt had been fighting a lot, but that was hardly a surprise that the defense, two babies, one of them colicky, and Matt was out fishing all the time.
You can't say that just because somebody is arguing every day. That's a sign of of hatred and I'm going to kill that person.
And that story that went around about Holly's behavior at Matt's funeral, uninformed judgments made from afar said the defense that somehow became this big myth that Holly didn't care. Oh, I can tell you right now she didn't care.
You can so that you can crawl into a reminder. You can tell nobody here what she was thinking.
No, you can read it on her face, read it on her face.
You don't have to be crying your eyes out at a funeral to not be grieving.
No. The defense argued all the testimony maligning Holly's behavior was really a product of the six plus years of rumor and innuendo which I had courtesy of the authorities, and that's family hardened into what sounded like truth, even if it wasn't.
If you listened to all the witnesses, anybody that was Holly's friend, they all turned away once they talked to the detective.
That was certainly the case, said the defense. When Holly's friend Rebecca Vega cut off contact with Holly about a year after Matt died.
Who's the accused murderer in this room, Holly? Yeah, and, you know, you can look at her anymore.
No, only then after she heard from the police, said the defense, did you begin saying what she said at the trial.
But you have no idea how that and I do. I didn't have to see physical proof. I asked you a question. You have no idea whatsoever how that man died, do you? Not to my knowledge.
Did the memory of all those happy days Rebecca spent with Holly suddenly sprout with dark suspicion? Once the police whispered in Rebecca's ear, like the bit about the antifreeze in the kitchen? Holly has children and she's very careful. And I know she would not leave chemicals like that just lying around the house.
No, the assault on Holly by her former friends, the defense, it was just a smokescreen for the hard evidence the prosecution did not have, like anything, connecting Holly to the murder weapon, by which, of course, we mean the antifreeze. Remember those two bottles of antifreeze? Investigators found it, Holly, in Matt's house after she moved out.
This is a blue bottle of pink antifreeze and koolan. It says the prosecution showed them off like the crown jewels, all the while knowing they had no known connection to anything or anyone. The defense was out there like a terrier on the bone, no fingerprints on the bottles, no indication the antifreeze was even the same kind that killed Max. No indication the bottles were in Holly's house when she actually lived there.
Those two bottles ministries are not linked to Matthew Pojoaque at all. No. And those two bottles in the fridge are not linked to Holly at all, other than the fact that they came from that address.
What was the point of that? That's why exactly there wasn't any.
Were they implying a connection or against the jury supposed to be grasping another glaring weakness, the defense? It was the prosecution's theory that Holly disguised the antifreeze in Matt's blood raspberry ice t zero forensic support for that set the defense. And you know how that he got into that thermos?
I have no clue. None of the cops at the homes were ever tested. The thermos that he allegedly brought to work every day was never tested. And there was nothing ever connecting that.
It was even iced tea and the motive. The prosecution suggested the modest life insurance money laughable, said the defense wouldn't even buy a decent car. Besides, Holly said she had no idea the insurance existed. That's uncle who owned the factory where Matt worked. Couldn't say otherwise.
Question is, do you have any personal knowledge of how we actually knew there was a life insurance rider on his health? I can't say that, but all his defenders did have a problem. No getting around it. Huge problem. That pillow talk with Jamison Kennedy when according to him, he actually confessed if they couldn't knock him down, they were.
Dunn was the prosecution's bombshell witness a dud?
Are you accusing me of doing something?
I'm not trying to accuse you of anything. Well, I not like I never said any such. What in heaven's name would hardly make features defense attorneys do about this? Her words was that she had put something in his drink. There was no avoiding the impact of those few words from Jamison Kennedy. Remember, just the mention of his name sent Holly into an epic breakdown, weeping, sobbing, fleeing the courtroom. Next day, it was the defense attorney's turn to take him on.
When I was all he had regained her composure, she came back into court. The strategy was to pick apart candy store, expose him for what the defense said. He most certainly was a liar. But the bit about the gypsy, Holly Kennedy said, had a glass of wine or two that night while he knocked off an entire bottle himself. You still are telling the jury here that Holly was tipsy or drunk that night, right?
Yes, sir. When in fact, it was you that was drunk that night. Not that we were both, you know, feeling a buzz.
Now, this is the sort of moment a defense attorney probably lives for.
Listen, were you aware that Holly's allergic to grapes and she can't drink wine? No.
Was this a man who could be believed when he said he had a real relationship with Holly? She had told me that he was stalking her.
He had got her name tattooed on him. You would not leave her alone. How do you feel about this? Oh, she was afraid.
And Kennedy admitted under defense questioning that he got very angry with Holly when he heard a rumor that she was with another guy.
Yes. So angry that you you grabbed her by the neck. You threw her against the wall. You punched her numerous times. That type of angry, right? No, sir. Oh, that didn't happen.
I do believe I pushed her when she only when she approached me to try to hit me, I think, with the phone or to smack me or something. I just kind of stiff armed her away. I think she fell down.
That was the extent of it, really. Holly called the cops that night and said Kennedy punched her five times. He'd already fled. But she said she was going to get a restraining order against him. But before she could, he was at her door again.
And when Holly called the police this time, Kennedy tried to escape and fought with two of them before he was finally arrested.
And it was only then after she turned him in and he was in jail, facing years in prison, burning up with anger toward Holly that he called his attorney, Charlie Feliciana, to try to make a deal. You say, Charlie, get me the police.
I got to help myself get out of this jam. I'm going to tell on Holly. Right.
Also, he was concerned that she would try to put this on me. Oh, so now we got a conspiracy theory going here that how he's now going to blame you for the death of man? Is that what you're telling me?
It's just attorney's recommendation. This attorney would bend over backwards to provide Jamison with a job and a place to stay while he was on probation from an earlier conviction. And what happened? Kennedy stole from him and Jamison threatened your life? He threatened me, yes. He threatened your family also. Yes, he had mental problems and was not stable, right? Correct.
According to the defense, not even the police believe Kennedy for more than two years, they did nothing about his allegation. And after those years, when, according to the defense, they couldn't find any other evidence, they put his story to the test by orchestrating that phone call from Kennedy in prison to Holly trying to get her to incriminate herself.
Curiously, the prosecution didn't mention that call in court, so the defense was only too happy to push play for the jury.
This was something they had to hear.
Holly, have you know, this is Jamieson's Holly was taken by surprise.
Hadn't heard from him for years. Police, of course, were listening.
Do you remember what you told me about the drinks, the drinks with Matthew I tell you about that didn't work out so well for the police or for Mr. Kennedy.
Are you trying to tell us what you're trying to do? I'm not trying to accuse you of anything. I will blow my mouth like I never said, adding that never happened. He was right when he said to me, I don't know, said the defense.
Holly didn't confess. Not then, not ever. And Kennedy was a sick puppy. We saw an opportunity to combine revenge with a little self help.
You are now trying to tell everybody that Holly confessed to you about this case because it would benefit you, correct?
I don't think I know what's morally right or no, it's morally right.
If you knew it was morally right, sir, you would have gone to the police. On September twenty sixth, isn't that correct, sir? I should have big morals, right? I should have, but I was very, very conscious. I have no further questions.
Kennedy was eventually released early from serving his full 10 year prison sentence. But after his release from prison, he died of a heart attack.
One more question to answer, if it wasn't Polly, who was it for that the defense offered Dr. Robert Buck's forensic pathologist Matt wasn't poisoned slowly over time, said Dr. Bux. The coroner simply made a mistake. All that pain Matt suffered in the weeks before his death, that was from simple kidney stone, said Dr. Bux. Nothing at all to do with antifreeze.
Is flank pain a symptom of ethylene glycol?
Poisoning shouldn't be known. Now, this wasn't a case of chronic antifreeze poisoning. This was a textbook case of acute poisoning. One large dose, said Dr. Bux.
This is a massive, acute ingestion. These types of ingestion is going to have to drink almost a pint of it.
And the most likely person to have poisoned him with a drink of that size was Matt himself.
As to the manner of death. What would your ruling probably be?
A suicide. Suicide by antifreeze, a method more common than most people realize, that the defense who kills himself was ethylene glycol was antifreeze.
Stuff would be horrible. What a terrible death.
Not true. It happens all the time. And there have been some famous cases, a retired pro football player, a writer for Saturday Night Live. But why, Matt?
He had gambling debts. He was depressed. He wasn't happy at work. Throw in experience of pain from kidney stones, throw in. Maybe they weren't having the best relationship at that time.
That all adds up to suicide and that that the defense asked the judge to throw out the charges against Holly.
There has to be evidence. There has to be proof. There has to be something that the state did to show that Holly was the one who did it. And it just doesn't exist for a moment, it seemed the judge might grant the motion, but no, he ruled Holly MC features fate would be decided by the jury, as it turned out, very slow lane, ethylene glycol, odorless, colorless, sweet taste. But did Holly use it to kill that you don't know.
Is the jury being out long a bad thing or a good thing?
It was seven years almost to the day since Matt Portlock took his last painful breaths. The prosecutor appealed to the jury convict all feature. He fell in love with the wrong woman. She was toxic to him.
This was the closing message, a stark visual. Look how easy, said the prosecutor, for Holly to mix antifreeze into match beloved iced tea. Look how hard for Matt to detect the poison. Ethylene glycol, odorless, colorless, sweet taste the defense appeal to the heart. There were two tragedies in this story. They set match death and Holly's suffering. Nothing could be done about the first shot, the defense. But the jury could rectify this second.
Got to end the nightmare. You've got to put to rest this family's tragedy.
This could be a close call. The jury went out. No verdict at the end of that first day or the next. Matt's brother, Mark, didn't know what to think. You don't know. Is the jury being out long a bad thing or a good thing?
Holly's sister Chrissy was nervous, tried to stay confident.
I mean, they had hearsay from a man that was in prison and some iced tea and a table.
Finally, toward the end of day three, cell phone started buzzing, verdict. Holly looking like she'd seen a ghost headed toward the courtroom surrounded by her family. Please rise.
As the jury filed in, Holly began mouthing the Lord's Prayer.
I understand you've reached a verdict in this case. Is that correct? And then the judge began to read, we, the jury in this case, being duly impaneled and sworn, do find the defendant Hollywood feature guilty of aggravated murder, violation of Section 29 of. I heard those words guilty and. Was emotional, please, sir Mark turn to hug his mother, her face awash in tears across the courtroom.
Nobody could react because it was total shock.
Nobody was expecting that the guards came, then wrapped handcuffs around Holly's wrists. She shook her head. No, seemed to be reading her words less than a whisper.
As she looked at me and she was gone and you that tore me apart, I really couldn't understand how this happened.
It wasn't supposed to happen like this.
The defense team felt gutted. The prosecution's case had been so flimsy, they felt how had it all gone so wrong? Still wondering what happened. This was not an easy one for the prosecutors either, the sort of case you might reasonably have walked away from if you didn't let yourself get caught up and start to care a lot. What was it like to get your guilty verdict?
It affirms that the work that we do was a good one, a very good one. What made it so good? You meet with the family at the beginning. And you're on this journey all the way through, and to be able to deliver something to them that they believed from the beginning made it very satisfying.
A month later at the sentencing hall, sister wanted the judge to know what the children thought, that their mother was not a murderer and that they were begging him to send her home to that.
My mom is the greatest mom in the world because she is sweet and kind. I really wanted to see her again. I really miss her. I wish I could have my mom back.
This is then a surprise. Matt's father, the retired cop, had become an ordained minister since his son's death, and he told the judge he had made a decision. They come to the point where I can forgive Holly and I have forgiven her. And I'm asking you, Your Honor, to temper justice with mercy.
But, Mark, seven years of suspicion, frustration, anger finally came bursting out and filled the courtroom.
I just have one simple question. Why would I put someone in unimaginable pain when he could have just walked away from the relationship? Why continue to slowly poison him when he could have stopped? And why take him away from those children that he so dearly loved?
The sentence was swift and stern.
The nature of the crime and the case cannot be overlooked in this matter. And the court's going to impose a sentence of life with parole eligibility.
After thirty four years, Holly Make Feature will be eligible for parole after 30 years. In March of twenty twenty, she went before the Ohio Court of Appeals alleging evidence about the jailhouse snitch was withheld by prosecutors and should have been turned over for her trial. But she lost his latest appeal, her children are living with one of Holly's sisters now, and Matt's parents get to visit them every few weeks. We want them in our lives. We want them to know who their dad was.
The night before Holly was shipped out to state prison to start serving her life sentence, Chrissy took the children to visit with her. They couldn't touch the glass barrier, separated. They spoke over a jailhouse phone. That just breaks my heart.
Try to watch and very hard to watch. I had to turn away numerous times because, like I said, it was just heartbreaking knowing that they couldn't just touch it. She couldn't touch her babies that she loved so much.
And Mark Potter, like where he always goes on the anniversary of Matt's death to talk to his brother at the cemetery this year.
We've a lot more to say and hope they're proud of you, Big Brother, a little bit, because I kind of hopefully help you rest in peace a little bit more than than you have been.
And this year, there will still be a potluck playing amateur hockey here in Cleveland. Matt loved the game. Mark took it up in his memory, and since Matt can't be here to play, said he played for.