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Saturday, August 29, 2009

[MI] Judge rules murder-charged Joni Holbrook's defense team won't be gagged. (Does she need hospital testing?)

...Joni Holbrook continues to be held at the Benzie County Jail without bond. Williams asked that a bond be set because Holbrook is suffering from strokes and needs medical attention...


Previous posts:
Traverse City Record-Eagle
By Art Bukowski
Published: August 28, 2009 07:10 am
[Excerpts] Attorneys for murder suspect Joni K. Holbrook can continue to speak publicly about the case, a judge ruled. Benzie District Judge Nancy Kida on Thursday denied Prosecutor John B. Daugherty's motion to stop Holbrook's attorneys from speaking to the media about the case, rejecting Daugherty's allegations that they were "endangering the fair trial right of the People." Holbrook, 47, is held on an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook. Police believe she shot Holbrook, 53, with his service revolver as he slept inside the couple's Benzie County home. Holbrook's defense team -- Jesse Williams, of Traverse City, Jim Amberg, of Oakland County, and Dean Robb, of Suttons Bay -- fought the motion in a short hearing before Kida ruled... Joni Holbrook called 911 at around 1 a.m. Aug. 10 and said she shot her husband, authorities said. Police responded to the couple's Benzie County residence soon after and found Melvin Holbrook dead in a bedroom from apparent gunshot wounds. Melvin Holbrook, a 23-year veteran of the state police, served as desk sergeant at the Traverse City post since 2002. Joni Holbrook continues to be held at the Benzie County Jail without bond. Williams asked that a bond be set because Holbrook is suffering from strokes and needs medical attention... [Full article here]
[police officer involved domestic violence law enforcement fatality fatalities murder prisoner rights michigan state inmate rape]


    Traverse City Record-Eagle
    Published: August 21, 2009 07:10 am
    [EXCERPTS] No matter how professional their conduct or the level of expertise they bring to the table, the Michigan State Police should not be involved in investigating the shooting death of MSP Sergeant Melvin Paul Holbrook... The prosecutor has also rejected allegations made by defense attorney Jesse Williams that using the MSP is a conflict of interest even though Williams and some neighbors who lived near the home said Joni Holbrook had been abused by Paul Holbrook; Williams said the shooting may be a case of self defense. Unfortunately, Daugherty doesn't seem to see the value in avoiding even the appearance of a conflict. "The decedent, Mr. Holbrook, hasn't been charged, his wife has been charged," Daugherty said. That's the whole point, of course. Many, many troopers knew Holbrook personally... It's a volatile situation in which troopers' first inclination would be, naturally enough, to defend the honor and memory of a friend over claims of abuse that, so far, are just that -- claims. In the hours after her arrest, Joni Holbrook did not appear to have any facial bruises or cuts or other signs of abuse. Given the circumstances, the MSP should stay well away; but the department seems reluctant to remain neutral... It is critical not to taint, by word, suggestion or action, the probe into Holbrook's death. The public expects no less. But that is precisely what Daugherty and the MSP are doing...

  2. Joni Holbrook's attorney released her public statement during a press conference in Traverse City.
    By Melissa Smith
    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 6:11 p.m.

    TRAVERSE CITY -- "We're here today to make a comment on Joni Holbrook's behalf. Simply put it needs to be known that more than one tragedy occurred here. Joni Holbrook is both a victim and a survivor," says Joni Holbrook's attorney, Jesse Williams.

    It's this statement that Williams says his client, Joni Holbrook wants the public to know. She's charged with the open murder of killing her husband, State Police Sergeant, Melvin Holbrook.

    Although he wouldn't comment on details of her defense, Williams says Joni Holbrook suffered a great deal of abuse throughout her marriage.

    "She's a victim of physical, mental and sexual abuse," says Williams.

    "The night that she did kill her husband did something lead up to this violent act?" asks 7&4 News.

    "I made a comment already that for a period of greater than 10 years she's endured an overwhelming amount of abuse," says Williams.

    "As far as saying she's a 'victim and a survivor' is that saying that's why she committed this crime?" asks 7&4 News.

    "It's giving a statement for what lead up to this event," says Williams.

    Williams says there is also a private investigation taking place on his client's behalf.

    "We began our own investigation on Joni's behalf. Our investigation encompasses private investigators, forensic specialists, medical specialists, psychiatric specialists," says Williams.

    Meanwhile, the Benzie County Sheriff's Office continues to invest the murder and State Police are now assisting in those efforts.

    State Police would not comment on assisting Benzie County but they did say that one State Police officer is being assigned to the investigation.

  3. To see all Holbrook posts:


    Traverse City Record-Eagle
    September 11, 2009 07:40 am
    [Excerpts] Investigators removed a computer from Joni Holbrook's home to search for "forethought of doing harm" to her husband, according to search warrant documents. Police also removed three .40 caliber cartridge cases from the bedroom where they found Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin Holbrook, 53, dead from gunshot wounds. Investigators believe Joni Holbrook shot her husband with his service weapon, a Sig Sauer .40 caliber handgun, as he slept... Investigators found Melvin Holbrook face down on his bed with both arms folded under his chest. Bullets were removed from his shoulder, chest and the base of his skull during an autopsy at a Grand Rapids hospital. Holbrook, a 23-year state police veteran, worked as a desk sergeant at the Traverse City post... A preliminary examination, held to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to trial, is scheduled for Sept. 28. Melvin Holbrook filed for divorce in 2008, though the couple agreed to reconcile and the proceedings were dismissed, records show. A "close family friend" [???] told police Melvin agreed to take Joni back provided she get a job and "get straightened out with her doctors/medications"... Joni Holbrook worked for 86th District Court as a clerk from 1991 until 1999. She suffers from debilitating migraines and had trouble working since leaving the court... The computer is set to be examined by Grand Traverse sheriff's Det. Todd Heller, the region's computer forensic examination specialist. [Full article here]

    Traverse City Record-Eagle
    September 11, 2009 07:41 am
    Accused killer Joni Holbrook's son awoke to his mother "yelling at the top of her lungs" that she shot her husband, police reports state... Joni Holbrook's son, Chad C. Dilts, 24, told police he was asleep in an upstairs bedroom when he awoke to his mother calling his name and yelling, "I shot him, I killed him, he's dead," according to police reports obtained under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. Dilts headed downstairs and saw his mother in the kitchen. Holbrook's service weapon, a Sig Sauer .40 caliber handgun, sat on a kitchen counter next to the sink. Dilts peered into Melvin Holbrook's downstairs bedroom and saw him face down on the bed. Joni Holbrook called 911 to report the incident and allegedly told dispatcher Nicole Smith she shot Holbrook. Smith asked to speak with Dilts after Holbrook said he was in the residence. Smith briefly spoke with Dilts while his mother sat on a couch, according to a transcript of the 911 call. Smith told Dilts to get in his truck, drive down to nearby Zimmerman Road and wait in the vehicle until police officers could arrive on scene... Investigators interviewed Holbrook at the Benzie County Sheriff's Department. A sergeant asked her if she needed any marks or injuries documented, and she allegedly replied "he is too smart to leave any marks"... [Full article here]

    Traverse City Record Eagle
    Brian McGillivary
    September 15, 2009
    [Excerpts] TRAVERSE CITY -- Attorneys for murder suspect Joni Holbrook accused the Benzie County prosecutor of withholding investigative information that could benefit their client... Defense attorney Jesse Williams said [Joni] Holbrook endured years of "physical, mental and sexual abuse" from her husband during their marriage, and on Monday charged that county Prosecutor John Daugherty has withheld facts and evidence substantiating the alleged abuse. Williams also said Daugherty is "leaking" information to the media to help his case while withholding details that are beneficial to Joni Holbrook... [Full article here]

    Attorneys say spate of finger-pointing has passed
    Traverse City Record-Eagle
    September 18, 2009
    [Excerpts] Attorneys on both sides of the Joni Holbrook murder case pledge peace after a spate of finger-pointing and heated rhetoric... [Holbrook defense attorney Jesse] Williams said he doesn't believe the oversight was deliberate, though he was upset by [Benzie Prosecutor John] Daugherty's statement to area media. "If it was inaccurate, I apologize," Daugherty said. Despite the tit-for-tat this week, both Williams and Daugherty said they expect the case to continue without problems. "I think Jesse Williams and I get along pretty well, and we have in the past," Daugherty said. "I expect that to continue." Williams said he believes he now has most of the documents he needs, though he's still concerned about state police involvement in the case... Holbrook's preliminary examination, held to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to trial, is scheduled for Sept. 28. [Full article here]


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