The Journal Gazette
 
 
Saturday, September 19, 2020 1:00 am

State reluctant to seek death for inmate's slaying

Associated Press

ANDERSON – A man serving two life sentences at an Indiana prison asked for the death penalty for a slaying of a fellow inmate, but a prosecutor said he is reluctant to pursue it.

Tommy P. Holland, 45, of Indianapolis is charged with murder in the stabbing of Clifford Baggett at the Pendleton Correctional Facility on Aug. 9, 2019. Holland appeared in Madison Circuit Court this week and rejected a deal in which he would have pleaded guilty and received a third sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

Both the prosecutor and Holland's defense attorney said that Holland told Judge Andrew Hopper he wanted to be executed, the Herald Bulletin in Anderson reported.

Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said Holland told the court that he “will continue to drop bodies until you give me the death penalty.” Holland's attorney, Bryan Williams, confirmed that account.

Cummings said he'd think about filing a death penalty case but was leaning against it.

“I don't want to spend the county's money,” he said. “If there is no trial it would cost about $50,000. A trial and the appeals could cost $750,000. It's not an appropriate way to spend taxpayer dollars.”

Williams said his client made the statement to the court against his advice.

“In 27 years as a defense attorney I've never had that happen before,” he said. “Without question, he was serious about the request.”

Holland is currently at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. Cummings said Holland will be segregated from other inmates for another year before being returned to the general population.

“I have contacted the prosecutor in LaPorte County of a potential problem and am writing to the Department of Correction for them to exercise reasonable caution to prevent his (Holland) access to other inmates, nurses and correctional officers,” Cummings said.

Williams said he was requesting a competency evaluation for Holland, who was convicted in Marion County in 2015 for the slayings of employees at a supermarket and at a gas station.


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