...Holbrook pleaded guilty to a count of second-degree murder, and that means a trial expected to last three weeks won't be necessary... As part of the deal, Joni Holbrook will spend no more than 15 years in prison...
UPDATE BELOW: Joni sentenced to 6 to 15 years.
- [MI] Joni Holbrook charged with murdering husband, State Patrol Sgt. Melvin Holbrook- ...Deputies say when they arrived they found that Sergeant Holbrook had been shot dead in his bed. His wife again admitted to shooting her husband...
- [MI] Neighbors didn't call the police when State Police Sgt. Melvin Paul Holbrook's wife Joni was abused. - ...Barbara Johnson who lived for about three years on Derby Road near the Holbrooks, said Joni Holbrook appeared at Johnson's home last fall and said her husband had just beaten her. "I asked, 'Why don't you call the cops?'" Baker said. "(Joni) said 'He is the police.'"...
- [MI] Attorney says Joni's diminished to the shell of a person. Sheriff will interview neighbors who say they were aware of abuse at the Holbrook's. - "...Her history of mental, physical and sexual abuse from her husband has diminished her to an absolute shell of a person"... The department will interview neighbors who alleged Melvin Holbrook was physically abusive toward his wife...
- [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...
- [MI] 1st wife shot at Trooper Sgt. Melvin Holbrook before later wife shot and killed him - ...Retired troopers told of a July 23, 1987, incident in which [1st wife] Starr Ann Holbrook shot at him with a state police-issued gun as he arrived home from work... [2nd wife] Joni Holbrook's attorney Jesse Williams says this is not a coincidence...
- [MI] Wife of murdered State Police Sgt. Melvin Holbrook is returned to jail until trial - ...[Joni] Holbrook, 48, is charged with an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook. She had been free on bond since October, but headed back to jail Tuesday after a brief hearing before Benzie Circuit Judge James M. Batzer...
- [MI] Slain Trooper Holbrook's wife plans to use defense that she feared that she'd be killed - ...Attorney Jesse Williams read this prayer/poem at a recent court hearing. It was apparently written by [Michigan State Police sergeant] Melvin Holbrook: "All the evil of my demented sexual thoughts and act I cast out... A twisted act of the Devil... I've hurt my wife so badly... Cleanse me of my wickedness"...
Holbrook enters guilty plea
Joni: 'I ... returned to the house with the gun and shot him in his sleep'
Traverse City Record Eagle
BY ART BUKOWSKI and BY Alex Piazza
July 14, 2010
[Excerpts] Tina Lehn thinks it's for the best that those tied to a Michigan State Police sergeant [Melvin Holbrook]'s slaying won't endure a long, drawn-out trial. Lehn has known accused murderer Joni Holbrook since middle school and was relieved to hear she agreed Tuesday to an 11th-hour deal in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Melvin Paul Holbrook. Holbrook pleaded guilty to a count of second-degree murder, and that means a trial expected to last three weeks won't be necessary. She told Benzie Circuit Court Judge James Batzer she shot her husband as he slept. "I got out of bed where he was sleeping, sat on the couch in the living room for about 20 minutes with my head spinning out of control, and I went to the garage where his vehicle was parked; reached into the vehicle where he kept his Michigan State Police service revolver; returned to the house with the gun, and shot him in his sleep," she said... Holbrook's trial was set to begin this morning, but the deal was reached Tuesday afternoon. She'll be sentenced to no more than 15 years in prison, Holbrook attorney Jesse L. Williams said... The Benzie County Sheriff's Department investigated the case. Sheriff Rory Heckman is pleased with Joni Holbrook's plea, but said the decision was unexpected... Excerpt from Joni Holbrook's statement Tuesday in Benzie Circuit Court: "...On the night of the incident, Aug. 10, 2009, I was completely worn down, torn down, and I couldn't take anymore... I got out of bed where he was sleeping, sat on the couch in the living room for about 20 minutes with my head spinning out of control, and I went to the garage where his vehicle was parked; reached into the vehicle where he kept his Michigan State Police service revolver; returned to the house with the gun, and shot him in his sleep. I regret the decision that I have made, and I would take that moment back in time..."[Full article here]
Holbrook to remain in jail
She awaits sentencing for killing husband
Traverse City Record Eagle
By Alex Piazza
July 15, 2010
[Excerpts] Joni Holbrook likely will remain in a Benzie County Jail cell for another month as she awaits sentencing for killing her state police sergeant husband. Officials will conduct a pre-sentence investigation before Benzie Circuit Judge James M. Batzer decides how many years Joni Holbrook, 48, will spend behind bars. A sentencing date has not been scheduled.... As part of the deal, Joni Holbrook will spend no more than 15 years in prison... Joni Holbrook defended her actions as she entered her plea, and told Batzer that Melvin Holbrook mentally, physically and sexually abused her. "I snapped from all of the abuse, stress and duress he had put me under for the entire term of the marriage," she said. "I regret the decision that I have made, and I would take that moment back in time"... [Full article here]
JONI HOLBROOK SENTENCED IN SLAYING: She will serve 6 to 15 years for shooting husband
Traverse City Record-Eagle
By Alex Piazza
August 11, 2010
[Excerpts] ...Family and friends waited hours inside the courtroom Tuesday to find out how long Joni Holbrook, 48, of Beulah, would spend behind bars for killing her husband, state police Sgt. Melvin Paul Holbrook. And with one brief statement, Benzie Circuit Judge James Batzer relieved that anticipation. Six to 15 years, he said... "I'm just relieved," said Ashley Dilts, Joni Holbrook's daughter, as she embraced family and friends outside the courtroom. "I think it's an appropriate sentence"... Joni Holbrook told Batzer when she entered her plea that she killed her husband because he subjected her to years of mental, physical and sexual abuse. Batzer later told the Record-Eagle that Holbrook's attorneys had "considerable evidence" she had been sexually battered and abused, and he took that evidence into account for her sentence. Joni Holbrook apologized to Melvin Holbrook's family at the sentencing. "I am sorry that my actions have taken someone so special away from you," she said. "I don't look at myself as a killer. I look at myself as a survivor"... Meleen Froman, Melvin Holbrook's sister, drove from Oklahoma to Beulah to attend Tuesday's sentencing, but was not pleased with Batzer's decision. "I just think it's a mockery," Froman said. "I just think it's sad. I'm a little angry now"... Debra Ankerson-Harrand, Joni Holbrook's sister, said she was relieved... [Full article here]