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Cops and Courts

'I killed your sugar daddy': Testimony begins in Lorain murder trial

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    Elliott Kirkland, who is accused of killing a man during a home invasion in 2016, watches as attorney David Doughton questions witness Jasmine Schafer, of Lorain, who pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, burglary and obstructing justice before Judge James Miraldi in October, in Miraldi's court on Tuesday afternoon.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

  • 011519-ELLIOTT-KIRKLAND-DAY-1-KB02

    Elliott Kirkland, who is accused of killing a man during a home invasion in 2016, cleans his glasses and has a cup of orange juice while appearing in Judge Jim Miraldi's court on Tuesday afternoon, January 15.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

  • 011519-ELLIOTT-KIRKLAND-DAY-1-KB01

    Elliott Kirkland, who is accused of killing a man during a home invasion in 2016, appears in Judge Jim Miraldi's court on Tuesday afternoon, January 15.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — While Elliott Kirkland was having sex with Jasmine Schafer, he grabbed her hair, pulled her head back and whispered into her ear, “I killed your sugar daddy,” Schafer testified Tuesday.

Hours earlier, Schafer had led Kirkland to the Ninth Street home of Jimmie Holland Jr., whom Schafer also was having a relationship with, in order for Kirkland to rob him, she said.

Tuesday was the first day of testimony in the capital murder trial of Kirkland, 28, of Lorain, who prosecutors say shot Holland three times early in the morning of Aug. 29, 2016, and left him to bleed to death. Kirkland faces aggravated murder charges and, if convicted, could be sentenced to death.

During her testimony, Schafer described her life as one filled with sex, drugs, alcohol, stealing and dealing drugs. She said she met Kirkland through Latrice Thomas, whom Schafer described as her girlfriend.

“I’m a swinger, so I have multiple partners,” Schafer said. “Me and her have multiple partners. We just indulge in sexual activities with a lot of people.”

Schafer walked the jury through the days leading up to the killing including helping Kirkland steal a gun from a man in Lorain, going to Dunham’s Sporting Goods to buy ammunition for it, her shooting the gun out of the window of a moving car and more.

Schafer also described her relationship with Holland, whom she referred to as her “sugar daddy.” The two met online through a dating site and the relationship quickly turned sexual.

She said Holland would buy her things, give her money and provide her with drugs. She said she could just go to his house whenever she wanted sex.

Prosecutors said Holland, 38, was a professional gamer who also tested video games, gaming equipment and televisions for companies. He also had a side business where he sold Percocets and other drugs.

The night before Holland’s death, Kirkland asked Schafer if she knew of anyone that he could rob to get some money.

“He asked me if I had somebody he could rob, pretty much, and I picked Jimmie,” Schafer said. “(I picked him because) he was most likely to be alone and he would have the most money. He wasn’t going to call the cops because he was a drug dealer; drug dealers don’t call the cops because they got robbed. What are they going to say? ‘Hey, somebody stole my drugs and drug money?’ ”

Schafer, Kirkland, Thomas and Mark Sanchez drove to Holland’s apartment. Schafer said she went into Holland’s apartment alone and bought drugs from him. She told Holland to leave the door to his apartment unlocked because she would come back later.

Later on, the group returned to the area where Holland lived and parked in a nearby alleyway where they drank beer, listened to music and waited in the car.

About 1:30 a.m., Kirkland and Sanchez snuck into Holland’s apartment while Schafer and Thomas waited in the vehicle.

Prosecutors said that Sanchez and Kirkland could hear Holland snoring as they entered the apartment.

As they crept into Holland’s bedroom, the floor creaked, waking Holland. The victim tried to fight the two men, but Kirkland shot him three times, prosecutors said.

Schafer said that while she and Thomas were waiting in the car, Thomas said she’d heard a gunshot. When they turned the radio down, Schafer said she heard two more shots, but “didn’t really think anything of it.”

Kirkland took a cloth Crown Royal bag that Holland used to carry his cash and ran from the apartment.

Schafer said Kirkland came back to the vehicle, but Sanchez never returned. Kirkland, Schafer and Thomas then drove away.

Prosecutors said there was more than $5,000 inside the Crown Royal bag. Schafer said Kirkland gave her and Thomas each $1,000 from it.

The trio went to a home, which Thomas eventually left for a while. While Thomas was gone, Kirkland and Schafer began to have sex, during which Kirkland told her he had killed Holland.

Schafer said she had done a lot of drinking and taken a large amount of drugs, and began to black out. Video surveillance was shown to the jury of the three entering gas stations, convenience stores and a Walmart around 5 a.m. on Aug. 29. Schafer said she can only remember bits and pieces of the rest of the morning.

Later that morning, Schafer said she woke up to find Thomas sitting on her bed. Kirkland was gone, as was the money. Schafer said it was then that she remembered what Kirkland had told her earlier about Holland.

She said she asked Thomas if Kirkland had killed Holland, to which Thomas told her he likely had.

Schafer then took her cousin’s vehicle and drove back to Holland’s apartment with Thomas to check on Holland. She said Thomas kept telling her it was a waste of time because Holland was dead.

They entered the apartment and found Holland’s body in a pool of blood in his bedroom. Schafer then called 911, she said.

When police arrived, Schafer began lying to them, she testified.

“I knew that I had set that man up to be robbed,” she said. “I did not mean for that man to get killed, and it all just went bad. I just didn’t know it was going to go. I was scared.”

Schafer said she and Thomas took a few items from the apartment and put them in their vehicle, which police later found. Schafer said she doesn’t know why she took the items.

Prosecutors said that Sanchez didn’t return to the vehicle with Kirkland because he began taking electronics and other items from Holland’s apartment to sell. Sanchez made multiple trips to the apartment, according to the state.

When police arrived, they found the apartment had been ransacked, with cords and wires hanging where televisions, monitors and other electronics likely had been.

Schafer, Thomas and Sanchez all have pleaded guilty to charges in connection to the killing of Holland. They have all reached plea agreements with the state on the condition that they “testify truthfully” during Kirkland’s trial.

None of the three have been sentenced yet.

The defense attorneys for Kirkland pointed out that Schafer had lied several times to police, and questioned whether the story she gave in court was actually the truth, or if it was the truth the state needed her to give in order to receive her plea deal.

Testimony in the trial is set to resume at 9 a.m. this morning.

Contact Scott Mahoney at (440) 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.


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