MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 36-year-old member of the Texas Army National Guard has been charged with strangling and killing his wife and their unborn child, according to authorities.
The Dakota County Attorney charged Roger Earl Holland with two counts of second-degree murder on Monday.
According to the charges, police were dispatched to the couple’s Apple Valley home on Thursday, March 7 on a report of a female in cardiac arrest. Upon arrival, Holland met officers yelling, “She’s in here, please help.”
Officers found Holland’s wife, Margorie Holland, at the bottom of the stairs, unconscious, not breathing and cold. Margorie Holland was also 15 weeks pregnant.
She was transported to Fairview Ridges Hospital, where she and her unborn child later died, according to police.
“This is an extremely sad and tragic event for a mother and her unborn child to die, allegedly, at the hands of her husband and child’s father,” said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.
Officers spoke with Holland at the hospital, who said they had a good relationship, no financial problems and were currently in the National Guard. He said they both had been deployed overseas previously.
Holland and his wife had been married for about three years and moved into their apartment in December. He told police she had accidentally scratched him in an episode of cramping and then asked him to go to Taco Bell to get her food. He said she then texted, saying she wanted McDonald’s, so he headed there. Holland said when he came home, she was face down on the floor and unresponsive.
Investigators searched the cell phone records of Holland and his wife and found hundreds of texts, including a number of texts that had been deleted regarding money issues, arguments and plans for a divorce.
In the arguments, Margorie Holland said she didn’t trust her husband, that he lied to her and that she was concerned about their financial situation, according to the charges.
In a text on March 1, Margorie Holland said, “Like I hate my life, I hate the man I married, and I wish I could erase the past 3 years.”
The charges state the last text argument found on her phone was the night before she died.
The complaint detailed that surveillance video at the apartment showed Holland didn’t leave his apartment until 9:34 a.m. Thursday morning. Rogers told police he was out getting breakfast and texting his wife. Those texts were sent at 9:29 a.m. and 9:32 a.m.
Officers also found a data entry that may have been related to an internet search on Holland’s phone from March 6, which stated, “if you pass out and fall down a flight of stairs can you break your neck, can your neck be broken if you are.”
An officer examined Margorie Holland at the hospital and found several bruises, bumps and abrasions all over her body. A medical examiner confirmed the superior horns of the thyroid cartilage in her neck were broken, which is consistent with strangulation, not falling down the stairs. The medical examiner also said she had hemorrhaging in her neck muscles, which is also consistent with strangulation.
“The medical exam found numerous injuries on Margorie’s body, including the head, ankles and feet,” Backstrom said.
But according to Holland’s attorneys Eric Nelson and Marsh Halberg this was not a couple in trouble.
“We believe this was a happy couple,” said Marsh Halberg of Halberg Defense.
Halberg said they were planning on moving back to Texas and they were looking forward to the future.
“It appears, to us, this was a couple that had a lot of positive things going forward, despite what you might see in the complaint,” Halberg said.
Holland, and his family, appeared in court on Monday. His family had little to say as they left the courthouse. Holland’s bail was set at $1 million. A grand jury will also look at the case to consider additional charges of premeditated first degree murder.
Margorie’s visitation will be held Wednesday at the Boldt Funeral Home from 4 to 7 p.m., and her funeral services will take place at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church at 10 a.m. Both locations are in Faribault.