A specially called Lubbock County grand jury on Friday indicted James Holland, 39, and Debi Bryant Holland, 38, for capital murder concerning the February 10 death of Holli Jeffcoat, 18.
Jeffcoat was described by officials and court records as being a special needs student who had the mind of a child. Days before she was murdered, Jeffcoat told school officials she had been sexually abused and was impregnated by her step-father James Holland.
Court records said a pregnancy test confirmed she was pregnant before she was murdered in a home in Northeast Lubbock County.
James Holland was arrested for continuous sexual abuse of a child on March 10. At that time the allegations were not related to Jeffcoat but instead for an underage girl related to Jeffcoat.
Jeffcoat’s mother, Debi Holland, was arrested on April 29 for aggravated sexual assault – not for what she did directly but because she was accused of facilitating sexual abuse committed by James.
An arrest warrant said, “Debi Holland was aware that Holli [Jeffcoat] was pregnant by James Holland prior to January 29 and instructed Holli not to tell anyone and thus aided James Holland in the continuing molestation of Holli.”
An arrest warrant in the Debi Holland case said, “When specifically asked whether mom knew about James and Holli having sex, Holli said yes. Mom told her not to tell anyone because mom needed James to pay the bills.”
Typically prosecutors have some time after a capital murder indictment to decide yes or no on pursuing the death penalty.
In this case, State District Court Judge John J. McClendon, III issued a gag order in mid-May. So, EverythingLubbock.com is not able to talk to attorneys about the possibility of putting the death penalty on the table.
In both capital murder indictments, there is a reference to the “death of an individual, an unnamed child, by stabbing or cutting Holli Jeffcoat, with a sharp object, while the unnamed child was in utero within Holli Jeffcoat.”
The grand jury also indicted both James and Debi Holland for sexual abuse charges.