An ex-convict who led police on a chase round Las Vegas earlier than officers discovered the severed head and dismembered physique of his buddy in a stolen car he was driving was sentenced Thursday to at the least 18 years in jail.
Eric John Holland mentioned he was “really remorseful” for killing Richard P. Miller, whose stays had been present in coolers within the mattress of a Chevrolet Avalanche during which Las Vegas police stopped Holland final December. Authorities discovered that Miller had been shot a number of instances, together with at the least as soon as within the head, earlier than his physique was carved up.
“It’s a horrible factor that occurred and I’m simply so sorry,” Holland mentioned.
That supplied little consolation to Miller’s daughter, who tearfully and haltingly advised a choose she felt “little or no aid,” that Holland pleaded responsible in July to a lowered cost and avoiding trial on an open homicide cost that might have resulted in a life sentence behind bars.
“I don’t know easy methods to make sense of it,” sobbed Amanda Daybreak Potter, who traveled from Portland, Oregon, for Holland’s sentencing. She known as her father’s slaying “essentially the most weird factor to ever occur to my household.”
“My dad didn’t deserve this,” she mentioned.
Holland, 58, has an intensive prison historical past, largely for forgery and embezzlement, but in addition together with an tried jail escape in Texas.
Earlier than Clark County District Courtroom Choose Tierra Jones sentenced him to 18 to 45 years for second-degree homicide and felony theft, Holland mentioned Thursday he hoped authorities would proceed to research his motive for killing Miller.
“I used to be going to deliver it up in court docket, however I’m not going to due to relations,” Holland mentioned. “There was a purpose, and I hope that they’ll get closure immediately.”
Holland’s lawyer, Daniel Westbrook, advised the choose he wouldn’t say greater than what his shopper mentioned. Westbrook declined further remark after the sentencing listening to.
Holland was pals with Miller, 65, who lived on a houseboat at Lake Mead, the Colorado River reservoir a couple of 30-minute drive from Las Vegas.
Miller was reported lacking in November 2021, and investigators later decided he was killed throughout an argument with Holland.
The Las Vegas Overview-Journal reported Thursday that in jailhouse interviews, Holland mentioned he needed police to research whether or not Miller was liable for the disappearance of Miller’s ex-wife, Jing Me Zhu, in 2018 or 2019.
“I’m going to jail for the remainder of my life, and I simply need to be sure that she wasn’t forgotten,” Holland advised the newspaper.
Holland mentioned he believed Zhu lived in China and Canada earlier than marrying Miller in 2018. In divorce proceedings lower than a yr later, Miller alleged in court docket paperwork that Zhu left him and moved to China. Data confirmed that Zhu couldn’t be positioned to obtain a court docket summons.
Westbrook advised the newspaper that Holland believes Zhu is lifeless and that Miller killed her.
Holland didn’t present particulars of Miller’s demise, the Overview-Journal reported.
Las Vegas police mentioned Thursday that they had no lacking particular person investigation associated to Zhu.
Police beforehand mentioned Holland drove away from patrol officers making an attempt to cease him on Dec. 23, 2021, in a stolen pickup truck and that he was seen switching automobiles earlier than he was arrested within the second car by officers who tracked him to an residence complicated west of the Las Vegas Strip.
Police later discovered receipts within the automobiles for gadgets together with an influence noticed and trash baggage bought from a house enchancment retailer after Miller’s disappearance.
Holland had been sought since Might 2019 on an arrest warrant in a 2018 case in Las Vegas accusing him of embezzlement, id theft, issuing false checks and theft, based on court docket information. He had posted $5,000 bail in that case.
Data present Holland additionally used the identify Eric Allen Holland and served jail time in Nevada for a felony theft conviction stemming from a 2000 forgery case in Las Vegas. He additionally used names together with John Carl Corridor, Phil Whidden, Robert Daniel Lauer and Steven Tauber, jail information present.
Holland had prior felony convictions relationship to 1987 in California for embezzlement, assault with a lethal weapon, resisting arrest inflicting substantial bodily hurt and property theft and false identification, based on a Las Vegas prosecutor, jail and court docket information.
Data present that Holland was convicted in Texas in a federal counterfeiting case, and later of tried escape and aiding in an escape.