Victim's brother says Pollok murder trial hard to go through again

Cody O'Quinn
Cody O'Quinn

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – For Cody O'Quinn, six years ago now seems like yesterday.

"It's pretty rough again," he said. "I mean it's all blown right back up like it just happened again."

His sister, Kimberly O'Quinn, was found shot in a Pollok home.

O'Quinn's then-boyfriend Jarrard Holland is being tried a second time for her murder.

"I hate that we have to do it again, but it's the way it is and I hate everybody's got something to lose on the deal," Cody said.

For now, Cody O'Quinn sits hoping, even if it won't bring his sister back, that the truth will come out.

"I just want the truth," he said. "I mean, but there ain't but one person here to give their side of the story."

EDITORS' NOTE: Holley Nees covered the trial and provided live accounts today at Following is her account.

An investigator testified an Angelina County man's story varied when authorities were interviewing him about his girlfriend's death.

Testimony continued Tuesday morning in Judge Paul White's courtroom for Jarrard Holland. Holland is being retried for the 2004 shooting death of his then-girlfriend 21-year-old Kimberly O'Quinn.

Holland was tried for O'Quinn's murder back in October 2007. The five-day trial ended with a hung jury. O'Quinn was found with a gunshot wound to the head, gasping for air at a home where the couple supposedly lived on Tom Hampton Road in Pollok.

Angelina County Sheriff's Investigator Mike Jones said he interviewed Holland in a room with a hidden camera to get his side of the story.

"Not completely different, but the story did vary," explained Jones. He said a lot of times when a suspect's story varies, it's a sign that they're usually not telling the truth

"You can watch his story and see that there's differences in his story," Jones said about the taped interview.

Holland's attorney, John Heath Jr., pointed out that officers are allowed to lie to suspects during interviews.

Heath said his client was very cooperative with investigators and was crying when they left the room. The defense said Holland even turned over his clothes to authorities.

"Guilty people cooperate too," Jones said.

"You and your cop buddies have decided it's a homicide," said Heath. Jones said he had formed the opinion the incident was a homicide after hearing some of the evidence.

Heath pointed out O'Quinn had multiple anxiety disorders.

Jones said the night O'Quinn was shot; he had been called out to another shooting in the county.  Jones said he was just asked to interview Holland and he just wanted to get his side of what happened that March 2004 night.

The state called Derek Dolan, 24, to the stand.  Dolan, a Central High School graduate, worked with Holland in 2005, after O'Quinn's death.

Dolan said he talked with Holland about the case one day over lunch. He knew Holland had been charged with murder.

"I asked him one time what it was about," said Dolan. "I felt like I had the right to know if I was working with him…He said I'm getting accused of something I didn't do and that him and his wife or girlfriend was using drugs."

He said the couple had been fighting about money.

"He said it made him feel like less of a man when Ms. O'Quinn would ask her father for money," Dolan said Holland told him. "He said that while they were arguing over money, Ms. O'Quinn was going to call her father…and that he pulled the phone lines or yanked the phone out of the wall to keep her from calling."

"[Holland] said that he went outside to cool off from the argument and she had stated that she was going to kill herself," Dolan testified. "He said they were wrestling over the firearm, it went off and it shot her."

Dolan said Holland told him he didn't do it and whenever they tested his hands for gunpowder, he had lead on his hands from playing washers.

"[Holland] did say they can't convict him because I was throwing washers," said Dolan.

He said he and Holland got along well after they talked. "He kept me safe a lot at work," said Dolan.

Dolan testified about five years after his conversation with Holland, he was attending the police academy at Angelina College where Texas Ranger Pete Maskunas was teaching a class. Dolan said he talked to Maskunas about what Holland supposedly told him that day.

The defense asked Dolan if Maskunas brought up this case in class as an example of the state not having the right evidence. Dolan said that was correct.

"Do you know the difference between an accident and an intentional act," Heath asked.

Dolan went down to give a statement to Maskunas after they talked.

"[Maskunas] never told me anything about the case," said Dolan.

The state continued presenting their side of the case Tuesday morning with the victim's first cousin, Josh Womack, 35, on the stand. Womack said he knows Holland.

"Some days would be good and then at the drop of the hat, they go haywire," said Womack of the couple's relationship.

Womack said once he saw the couple arguing, "They were screaming and cussing at each other."

Womack testified Stevie Dixon and O'Quinn did know each other well and he said they came to his house on numerous occasions.  Womack said he thought they came to his house because they felt it was a safe place to be because Holland wasn't allowed there.

Womack claimed O'Quinn told him if Holland caught her and Dixon together, he would kill her.

Holland's attorney objected and Judge White then instructed the jury to disregard that statement.

"[O'Quinn] was afraid that he would kill her," Womack told the jury. "She had planned on leaving. She was trying to get away from [Holland]."

Womack said O'Quinn told him she was scared of Holland up until a week prior to her death.

He said she "and Dixon would meet up at his house."

Shawn Reynolds, an investigator with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office, said when she arrived on the scene, "…there was clothes very neatly placed in the back seat" of a car.

"The living area was somewhat disheveled…there was a wad of hair that was located by the door," she recalled. "I then entered the bedroom and it was a complete mess. It was torn up."

Reynolds testified about a conversation she had with the defendant when she conducted an atomic absorption kit on him.

"Mr. Holland said that he and Ms. O'Quinn had been at his parent's house," she said. Reynolds said Holland told her he and O'Quinn began arguing and O'Quinn got mad and left.

"He stated that once he got there, me [Holland] and her [O'Quinn] began to argue and they continued to argue and he told her that he was throwing her [rear] out as he was sick and tired of her [stuff] and tired of her [messing with] other people," remembered Reynolds.

"[Holland] stated that he went into the closet and grabbed as many clothes as he could carry and threw them into the car," Reynolds told the jury. "[Holland] stated that she followed him that they were outside and …then they went back into the residence…she got in his face and that he pushed her down."

Holland apparently told Reynolds that O'Quinn's hair fell out when she hit her head on the table.

The investigator said Holland told her, "When he came back into the residence, [O'Quinn] told him you don't have to worry about me anymore and shot herself."

"He said that she shot herself and she fell straight back," Reynolds went on to say Holland told her "That girl really did it this time, she's [really] dead."

Reynolds said she then told Holland that O'Quinn was not dead at that time.  She said his demeanor changed rapidly.

"He just looked like he was completely shocked," she said.

Reynolds recalled a small gray bag in the bedroom containing a photo album and "chick flick" movies.

She explained there was blood all over the bed and the mini blinds. Reynolds said she helped photograph the scene.

The defense questioned her in detail about specifics of the crime scene. Heath pointed out some of the blood in the bedroom was never tested to see whose blood it was.

"You knew in the course of the investigation that at some point there was a problem with the photographs," said Heath.

Heath questioned Reynolds at length about why certain pictures were not taken and why certain items were not tested at the crime scene.

"As a detective your responsibility is to collect evidence," asked Heath. He pointed out that the investigator did not collect Patrick Strickland or Greggory Cordova's clothes for testing.  The two men testified earlier in this trial they went to the couple's house to help O'Quinn after Holland said she shot herself.

Heath pointed out that the better practice is to collect as much evidence as you can, especially if it is not clear what happened at a scene.

Reynolds said she didn't collect Strickland's clothes that night for testing because "He was not at the residence when the alleged offense occurred."

The investigator went on to say Holland told her his fingerprints were going to be all over that gun. She explained to Holland they weren't testing for fingerprints at that moment, they were looking for gunshot residue.

"He was extremely muddy on his hand and his clothing," Reynolds said of Holland. "He said that he had been running and it was muddy and raining."

Reynolds said there was foundation strewn throughout the bathroom of the couple's trailer.

"The makeup in the bathroom looked as if it had been knocked out of someone's hand," she told the jury.  Judge White told the jury to disregard that statement after an objection from Holland's attorney.

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