ELYRIA – Elliott Kirkland was found guilty on all counts in connection the shooting death of Jimmie Holland Jr., and the jury now will decide whether he should be sentenced to the death penalty.
Kirkland, 28, of Lorain, was charged with aggravated murder in the Aug. 29, 2016, shooting death of Holland at Holland’s Ninth Street apartment. Police have said Kirkland shot Holland three times and left him to bleed to death while he and another man broke into the victim’s apartment to rob him.
The jury began deliberation early Wednesday afternoon and reached a verdict around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, finding Kirkland guilty on all 10 counts of the indictment.
Testimony has said that Kirkland, Mark Sanchez, Jasmine Schafer and Latrice Thomas went to the Ninth Street apartment with the intention of robbing Holland, who police said was known as a drug dealer who had a large sum of cash on him.
Sanchez testified that he and Kirkland entered Holland's apartment while the victim was sleeping. When Holland woke up, he and Kirkland struggled and Kirkland shot Holland multiple times, took a bag full of cash and ran from the apartment, Sanchez testified.
Sanchez and Schafer were indicted on aggravated murder and murder charges, respectively, while Thomas charged with obstructing justice for her alleged role in the killing.
Testimony in trial referred to Holland as a drug dealer and even Schafer’s “sugar daddy,” but Holland’s brother, William Holland, said that wasn’t the case.
“He was a father of four that was murdered,” William Holland, who lives in Florida, said. “He left four kids behind, but people want to say he was a sugar daddy and a drug dealer. My brother was never a drug dealer. He had money on him because he was a gamer and people would pay him for that.”
During the trial, prosecutors said Jimmie Holland Jr. was a professional game tester that companies would send games to for him to play and test. They said he also had a side business of selling Percocet pills.
William Holland said his brother had twin daughters who are 20 and two boys, ages 11 and 8. He also said Jimmie Holland Jr. died at the same age as their father, at a too young age of 38.
“My brother was a hard worker,” William Holland said. “He’d stay up on games. The only thing that would keep him away from games was playing basketball. He loved playing it. It was the only way I could get him away from video games.”
Prosecutors have spoken to William Holland about the trial every day, he said. While he wanted to attend the trial in person, he was unable to due to work, he said in a phone interview.
Hearing about the verdict brought some sense of justice, he said.
“Ain’t nothing going to bring him back,” William Holland said. “It’s always good closure that they caught him and found him guilty of all charges and stuff like that. That helps. It would be worse if they never caught the person that did it and they never got prosecuted. At least there’s some justice coming from it.”
Now that Kirkland has been found guilty, the trial will begin the second phase, or the penalty phase. In it, the jury will listen to testimony from mental health experts on the defendant’s life. They will then be tasked with deciding whether Kirkland should receive the death penalty.
The penalty phase of the trial is set to begin Tuesday morning before Judge James Miraldi.
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