LIMA — A Lima man currently serving a life sentence for the 1999 stabbing death of an Elida woman has gained the support of a national human rights organization in his attempt to gain either his exoneration or at the very least a new trial.
Cory E. Holland, of Lima, was convicted in November 1999 of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery in the death of Dorothy Miller, of Elida, who was fatally stabbed in April 1999 during a robbery attempt at Home Service Laundry Dry Cleaners & Carpet Cleaners on West Market Street, where she was general manager.
Holland is serving a life sentence at Allen Correctional Institution.
Earlier this year, the group The Innocence Project gave its support to Holland’s request for new DNA testing.
A status conference involving parties involved in the case was held Tuesday in Allen County Common Pleas Court. Judge Jeffrey Reed presided over the hearing after Judge Terri Kohlrieser was called out of town due to a family emergency.
In a motion seeking post-conviction DNA testing filed in January, attorneys for The Innocence Project sought an order for a new examination and comparison of unidentified fingerprints recovered from the crime scene and other evidence in the case. The document claims that “modern DNA testing has the capacity to provide dispositive scientific evidence that both identifies the real murderer and exonerates Holland.”
The Innocence Project has agreed to pay all costs associated with such testing.
Attorneys for Holland claim new evidence has come to light “which both undermines the state’s proof of Mr. Holland’s guilt and implicates a violent felon named Willie T. Amos in the murder.”
The document alleges that three of the informants who testified against Holland have since recanted their testimony — including “two of which have indicated in sworn statements that they were pressured by police to implicate Holland.”
Amos, a violent felon who was arrested in the area of the crime scene after running from police only minutes after the murder, has since admitted his responsibility for the crime, the document alleges. He is currently serving time in Indiana for a robbery conviction in Fort Wayne.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Attorney Bryce Benjet of The Innocence Project said negotiations are ongoing with the state of Ohio to determine what evidence still exists from the 20-year-old murder.
Benjet said it is his organization’s intent to “take the evidence that exists and send it to a lab to see if biological evidence is on it. This is the first step in the process.”
He encouraged the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office, represented Tuesday by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jana Emrick, to “revisit its decision to oppose the DNA testing.”
A dozen or more of Holland’s family members and friends were in attendance at Tuesday’s hearing.