Jason P. Holland, 41, was sentenced Thursday, Oct. 3, to two years and 10 months in prison for unlawfully entering a Louisburg home and assaulting its occupant a year ago.
Holland has been in custody at the Miami County Jail ever since he was arrested shortly after the incident took place in the early morning hours of Aug. 9, 2018.
He initially was accused of unlawfully entering two occupied Louisburg homes within blocks of each other in neighborhoods north of Amity Street between Broadway Street and Metcalf Road. He was charged with two counts of aggravated burglary of a dwelling, one count of aggravated battery and one count of interference with a law enforcement officer.
During a preliminary hearing that took place in May, Judge Amy Harth ruled there was not enough evidence to bind Holland over for trial on the second burglary charge. That charge later was amended by Miami County Attorney Elizabeth Sweeney-Reeder to criminal trespass. The other three charges remained.
A jury trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday, Sept. 3, but it was canceled after a plea deal was reached Aug. 21.
Under the terms of the deal, Holland agreed to plead no contest to the aggravated burglary and aggravated battery charges. In return, Sweeney-Reeder agreed to dismiss the criminal trespass and interference with a law enforcement officer charges, as well as recommend a downward durational departure and concurrent sentences for the remaining charges.
Aggravated burglary of a dwelling is a severity level four person felony that could have included a prison sentence of 38 to 172 months in prison, depending on the defendant’s criminal history. Aggravated battery is a severity level seven person felony that could have included a prison sentence of 11 to 34 months.
The recommended prison sentence in the plea deal was 34 months, or two years and 10 months.
After pleading no contest to both charges, Holland was found guilty by Judge Harth, and she sentenced him Thursday to 34 months in prison for the burglary charge and 12 months in prison for the battery charge. The sentences will run concurrently, or at the same time, which means the total sentence will be 34 months.
Defense attorney Forrest Lowry said the agreed upon sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime and upholds respect for the law.
“We believe it’s fair and just,” Lowry said.
During the sentencing hearing, Sweeney-Reeder read a written statement from the victim involved in the incident that was later changed to criminal trespass.
The victim asked Holland why he chose her home and if it was just random. She also talked about how the incident shattered her family’s sense of security in their own home.
“We felt safe until you brought your darkness into it,” the victim wrote.
The victim involved in the incident that led to the home burglary charge was present at the sentencing hearing and read a statement of her own.
“Three hundred and fifty steps is all it took to change my life forever,” she said, explaining that that is how far Holland walked from where he was camping out to get to her home.
She went on to say that she put her three daughters to bed that night and prayed for their safety, not realizing that she would be assaulted by an intruder later that evening.
She said when she showers she scrubs her neck repeatedly because she can still feel his hands around her throat. Still, she refuses to call herself a victim.
“I am a survivor. My girls are survivors,” she said. “My will to live and survive and get to my daughters was stronger than your hands.”
The woman went on to describe how faith has helped her heal since the incident.
“The Lord was there and protected me from evil,” she said, adding that she has forgiven Holland, but she still wants Judge Harth to ensure he serves time in prison.
“I pray that you find Jesus,” she said to Holland before reading Psalm 91.
Upon imposing the sentence, Harth acknowledged the comments from the victims and talked about how no sentence can give them back the sense of security that was taken from them.
“I think what we forget is it really does just take a minute to snatch the things that we take for granted away from us,” Harth said. “There is nothing that can give that back.”