Jury hears final testimonies in Pollok murder trial

Pete Maskunas
Pete Maskunas

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

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Though she's waiting for a verdict, Kimberly O'Quinn's mother knows the answers.

"I got my answer a long time ago," Beverly Fenley said. "I knew with all my heart that Kimberly didn't kill herself."

That's a question the jury will soon answer.

Fenley's 21-year-old daughter was found dying at a Pollok home six years ago.

Her then-boyfriend Jarrard Holland is being tried a second time for her murder.

"She had already spoken to granny and pawpaw and she was moving out, so we thought she was going to get out on time," Fenley said.

Fenley says O'Quinn had already started seeing someone else.

She claims Holland was abusive and on drugs.

"I know that he beat her, I mean from one end of that trailer and Kimberly was pretty scrappy herself, somebody hit her, she's going to hit them back and so I know it was one hell of a fight," Fenley said.

James Acosta claims he heard two men saying they needed to get their story straight about how they found O'Quinn gasping for air before giving a statement to authorities.

"The defense has called people up that we all know has just not told the truth," Fenley said.

Texas Ranger Pete Maskunas was called back to the stand today. The defense questioned him at length about missing pieces in the investigation.

"I think they really thought that they had enough evidence and I think they maybe went on the speculation that it was a suicide and didn't properly do the investigation that they should have," Fenley said.

Friday, the decision will be in the hands of the jury.

"In the Bible, it's vengeance is mine saith the Lord and that's all I can rely on whether it's guilty or not, the man will get his justice one way or the other," Fenley said.

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

A Pollok man claims he heard two men say they needed to get their story straight about how they found a 21-year-old Pollok woman dying before giving a statement to authorities.

Testimony continued Thursday morning in Judge Paul White's courtroom for Jarrard Holland. Holland is being retried for the 2004 shooting death of his then-girlfriend 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. Holland told authorities O'Quinn committed suicide.

James Acosta, 37, testified he went to school with Holland and they've been close friends for years.

Acosta said he also knows Patrick Strickland through Holland.  Strickland testified earlier in the trial he and Greggory Cordova went to find O'Quinn after Holland said she had shot herself.

Acosta testified he was working a job with Cordova and Strickland two days after O'Quinn's death.

"We were still trying to get the job done, but it was on everybody's mind," Acosta remembered.

He said while he was at lunch with Strickland and Cordova, one of the men received a phone call.

"I remember him looking; more of a fearful look in his eye," said Acosta.

He claims Strickland then said, "We need to make sure we have our story straight, we need to get our [stuff] together."

Acosta said when they returned to the job site, Cordova and Strickland worked together and were talking where he couldn't hear. He said that morning all three men were trying to get the job done, but after lunch things progressed slowly.

Prosecuting attorney Art Bauereiss pointed out Acosta didn't know who that phone call was from.

Acosta said he had been to Holland's house when Holland's daughter was there and he said the trailer was usually pretty orderly.

The witness admitted Holland is a better friend to him than Strickland and Cordova.

He said Holland talked to him about his relationship with O'Quinn.

"[Holland] was looking to maybe break up with her and move on," said Acosta.

Acosta said he didn't know of any ill-will Strickland held against Holland and he also said he didn't know of any motive for Cordova to conspire against the defendant.

Bauereiss asked Acosta if he thought the men were just being facetious when they said they needed to get their story straight before giving a statement to the sheriff's office.

"I think he was being very serious," Acosta responded.

Bauereiss had Acosta read his 2007 testimony where he said after his lunch with Strickland and Cordova there wasn't much more talking.

The defense pointed out Acosta was meaning there wasn't much more talking between all three men.

The defense continued presenting their case to the jury with 21-year-old witness Nicole Rhodes.  Rhodes is Emily O'Quinn Meisel's cousin.  Meisel testified earlier in the trial she had seen O'Quinn and Holland argue and that she had seen evidence of abuse on O'Quinn after the couple had supposedly fought.

However, Rhodes testified Meisel "didn't like Kim."

"She didn't want her kids around Kim, she felt like she was unstable," Rhodes told the jury.

Rhodes said her cousin told her about O'Quinn's past suicidal behavior and said she never saw O'Quinn at Meisel's house.

Regina Greenville, another witness for the defense, said she and Holland have a 12-year-old daughter together. She said they were together for about six years until they cheated on each other.

Greenville said when Holland found out she had been unfaithful, "He cried, he was upset, we argued and we broke up and then we got back together."

She said Holland never hit her or threatened her with a weapon. She said she's very comfortable with her daughter spending time with Holland and his wife now.

Bauereiss questioned her about Holland cheating on her. When Bauereiss asked her, Greenville said she was fine with a loaded weapon being in the bedroom when her daughter was 6 years old at the time.

Texas Ranger Pete Maskunas was called back to the stand Thursday. A member of Holland's defense council, Stephanie Stephens, pointed out the lack of video and photos of the crime scene.

Stephens questioned Maskunas at length about fingerprints and photographs that were not taken at the scene.

When asked, Maskunas said he's talked to a number of people about this case. Stephens pointed out Derek Dolan told Maskunas his memory was fuzzy about what Holland said happened that March 2004 night. Dolan, Holland's former coworker, testified earlier in the trial Holland told him he was arguing with O'Quinn the night she died.

"[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 Tuesday. "He said they were wrestling over the firearm, it went off and it shot her."

Stephens questioned Maskunas about the testimony he gave in 2007 regarding blood spatter analysis of the Pollok crime scene. She pointed out the testimony he gave in the first trial was different than what he now believes about the way O'Quinn was shot.

"I do not believe she was upright," he said. In 2007, Maskunas apparently thought O'Quinn was in an upright position when she received the fatal gunshot wound to the head.

Maskunas told the jury that was his opinion at the time of the first trial.

"I still maintain that Jarrard Holland killed Kimberly O'Quinn," said Maskunas.

Stephens said the only thing that changed was that the 2007 evidence Maskunas had wasn't enough for a conviction. Maskunas said that was not correct.

Angelina County District Attorney Clyde Herrington asked Maskunas how he came to change his opinion about how O'Quinn was shot.

"I've had an opportunity to review the evidence again, I've had additional practical experience in blood stain analysis," Maskunas responded.

Maskunas said at the time of the first trial, he had very little experience in blood spatter analysis.  Further, he said if authorities have a difficult crime scene, often they'll consult with other blood spatter analysis experts.

"There were patterns that frankly I missed on the clothing," said Maskunas.  He said there were some drip patterns that were not on the front of O'Quinn's clothes. Maskunas said the lack of that pattern indicates she was shot lying down, a different opinion than he gave in the 2007 trial.

Herrington asked him what went wrong and he replied, he took into account the interview he conducted with Holland when he analyzed the blood spatter patterns.

The trial recessed early for the day. Closing arguments and deliberations are expected to take place Friday morning.

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