First posted: Friday, May 24, 2013 04:47 PM EDT | Updated: Friday, May
24, 2013 07:56 PM EDT
An Edmonton man who used a toilet tank lid to attack a transsexual
before torching her suite and dragged his girlfriend from a car was
sentenced to 15 years Thursday.
Zachary Holland, 26, pleaded guilty to several charges including arson
causing bodily harm, two counts of aggravated assault, kidnapping and
uttering death threats.
Judge James Wheatley described Holland’s crimes as “horrific.”
According to agreed facts, Holland got into an argument with his
girlfriend, Megan Carley, at her apartment on March 25, 2012, and
ended up choking her and forcing her to get into his car.
Carley tried to later jump out of the car, but Holland grabbed her by
her long ponytail and continued driving, dragging her for at least 171
Holland was arrested and Carley was taken to hospital with a fractured
clavicle, pelvis, ankle, a deep cut to the scalp, missing chunks of
skin tissue and bruising and road rash injuries.
In a victim impact statement, Carley told court she is unable to walk
and said she still suffers from constant nightmares.
Outside court, Carley said she was just happy it is over.
“Fifteen years is pretty good for me,” she said of the sentence.
“Psychopaths don’t have feelings and I don’t think he has feelings.”
Court heard Holland was released on bail when he met up with Justine
Saoi, a transsexual who he had earlier had a romantic relationship
with, and went to her apartment to drink and do drugs.
Holland choked her, punched her repeatedly and struck her across the
head with the ceramic lid from the toilet. He then strangled her until
she lost consciousness.
Holland started a fire on her bed before leaving.
Saoi was able to somehow escape the building with significant burns
and the fire spread through the 26-unit apartment building, resulting
in people having to be rescued from their balconies.
In a victim impact statement, Saoi wrote she has “permanent scars from
head to toe,” suffers regular nightmares.
Defence lawyer Geoff Green told court that Holland was “struggling
with sexuality” and said he was abusing alcohol and cocaine at the
time as well as using steroids.
Before being sentenced, Holland read out a written statement in which
he said he was “truly sorry” and promised that “nothing like this will
ever happen again.”