ELYRIA — Latrice Thomas was sentenced to three years probation for her role in the 2016 killing of Jimmie Holland Jr.
Thomas, 38, of Lorain, pleaded guilty to obstructing justice in September as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. Thomas agreed to testify against Elliott Kirkland in his capital murder trial and, in exchange, prosecutors would recommend a sentence of three years probation.
Thomas does have a three-year prison sentence hanging over her head if she violates her probation, according to court documents.
While Thomas had agreed to testify in court against Kirkland, prosecutors did not call her to the stand during the nearly monthlong trial in which a jury found Kirkland guilty of aggravated murder but did not recommend he be sentenced to death. Instead, the jury recommended Kirkland be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Kirkland is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge James Miraldi on Feb. 22.
Testimony in the trial said Kirkland killed Holland, who was shot three times before bleeding to death in his apartment. Kirkland, Thomas, Mark Sanchez and Jasmine Schafer had planned to rob Holland, whom they believed to be a drug dealer with a large amount of cash.
Testimony said that Kirkland and Sanchez entered the apartment while Holland was sleeping. When Holland woke up, he found the two men in his bedroom and tried to fight them off.
Sanchez testified that Kirkland shot Holland three times, grabbed a bag of money from the room and ran from the apartment.
While Kirkland and Sanchez were in the apartment with Holland, Thomas and Schafer were waiting in a nearby vehicle drinking beer, according testimony.
Schafer testified that she and Thomas were having a sexual relationship, but she also said both women led a “swinger” lifestyle and Thomas was having a sexual relationship with Kirkland while Schafer and Holland were having one as well.
Schafer also testified that she had led Kirkland to Holland’s apartment and had left a door unlocked so he and Sanchez could enter.
Hours after the slaying, Schafer testified that she forced Thomas to go back to Holland’s apartment to see if Holland was dead. After they found his body, the two women took some items from the apartment and loaded them in a vehicle before calling 911.
During the sentencing hearing, a letter from William Holland, the brother of the victim who lives in Florida, was read in court. In it, William Holland said he had come to Ohio to visit his brother the weekend of the killing.
William Holland said he had stayed with a friend the night of the incident because he didn’t know his brother’s new address. He said he tried calling Jimmie Holland, but his brother didn’t answer the phone.
“I always think I could (have helped) or stopped this from happening if I only had gotten there sooner. Or if I was there sooner would you have killed me, too?” William Holland said in the letter. “Well, I guess God had other plans for Jimmie and me. His plan was to make sure someone was there to take care of his funeral. I don’t like God’s plans.”
When asked if she wanted to say anything prior to being sentenced, Thomas quietly answered, “No, sir.” They were the only words she said during the proceeding.
Miraldi said he had found the evidence in the case to be “pretty disturbing” and he liked to believe that she truly had “no concept of what was going to go down that evening.”
“You’ve got a heaving burden to live with, but it’s not as heavy as William Holland’s,” Miraldi said to Thomas. “I hope you will do some things to atone for your participation in this horrible tragedy.”
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