Jury reaches verdict in Chad Holley's trial
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Chad Holley, the teenager whose accusations of being beaten by police led to some officers losing their jobs and getting charged with a crime, has been found guilty of burglary.The first of a few trials involving Holley didn't go as his lawyers planned, but they're promising another fight. Holley's attorneys said they'll appeal the jury's verdict. After about two-and-half hours of deliberation, a jury convicted Holley of burglary on Tuesday. A judge sentenced him to probation for two years -- or until he turns 18 in April 2012. Holley, 16, said nothing as he left the courtroom, and his defense team left dumfounded. "I don't understand it. I mean, not even close," Defense Attorney Lance Hamm said. "In order to have them find him delinquent of burglary of habitation, they had to make a huge leap," Defense Attorney Wilvin Carter said. The defense contends the state did not have the evidence to prove Holley participated in the March burglary of a townhome, in which cash, jewelry and a music keyboard were stolen. There were no fingerprints or proof he stole anything, they say, and for that reason, they called no witnesses -- not even Holley himself. "What could he have said?" Hamm said. Also not part of the two-day trial is the most widely publicized evidence surrounding this case: security video from a storage facility that is said to have recorded four HPD officers beating and kicking Holley after he was already in custody for burglary. Those officers have lost their jobs and await trial. The DA and a federal judge ordered it not be publicly released to ensure the officers receive a fair trial themselves. "The facts did not permit the tape to come in at that particular time," Carter said. "In all fairness, it did not matter; whether that tape would have changed how the jury felt about our case or our perspective or our theory of the case, we don't know."
The jury sided with the state, making an impact on this teen but not necessarily on the upcoming cases against the accused cops.
"It's not even relevant because the police officers can't say that we beat him because he was burglarizing a place; it's not a defense that they'd want to use," KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy said.
Holley is a first-time offender. His other three friends pleaded guilty to the burglary.
Part of Holley's probation includes no social networking.
The woman whose home was burglarized told Eyewitness News in a phone interview that she hopes Holley learns his lesson and learns to respect people's properties.Closing Arguments
In closing arguments, the state went through the events in March when a townhouse was burglarized. The then 15-year-old Holley, according to testimony, was one of four people allegedly involved in the break-in where cash, jewelry and a music keyboard were stolen."It's like a puzzle piece that leads to Chad Holley being guilty," said the prosecution. "He leaves school at lunch. He was told, "We're gonna hit a lick -- slang for a burglary. He knows what he's doing and why he's leaving. That's the moment you go, 'No, thank you.'" The defense contends Holley did not participate in the burglary. In closing arguments, Holley's attorney told the jury, "Why did the officers testify the way they did? They said exactly what the state wanted you to hear. You can say, 'You're stupid, but not guilty."
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