Judge sentences woman to life in prison for
antifreeze poisoning murder
By Rachel Dissell - Cleveland.com
August 28, 2013
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cuyahoga County Common Pleas
Judge Brian Corrigan sentenced Holly McFeeture to life in prison today
for slowly killing the father of two of her children with antifreeze.
The victim, Matthew Podolak, died in 2006.
McFeeture was convicted of the crime last month.
McFeeture's attorney, Bret Jordan, had asked
Corrigan for the minimum term allowable by law, which would have given
McFeeture a possibility of release after 20 years.
But prosecutors -- and most of Podolak's family --
asked the judge to keep McFeeture behind bars for life.
Corrigan said McFeeture, 35, will be eligible for
parole after serving 30 years.
Polodak's brother, Mark, wanted McFeeture held
accountable for her "cold and callous" actions and lack of remorse.
Podolak looked at McFeeture, who sat behind him and
asked her, "Why? Why put someone in unimaginable pain when you could
have just walked away from the relationship."
Next to him Prosecutor Brian McDonough was holding
a photo of Podolak, signed by family and friends.
His father, Len Podolak, said that he had forgiven
McFeeture and asked the judge to "temper justice with mercy."
After the hearing, Podolak's family and friends
said their next mission is to make sure that the two children Podolak
and McFeeture had together are raised with love and know who their
father was -- and that he loved them.
Podolak's children were a toddler and an infant
when he died seven years ago.
Three of McFeeture's family members and a friend
said the judge needed to know who McFeeture was outside of what was
heard in the courtroom.
They called McFeeture a loving mother and a loyal
and trustworthy person.
As her sister read messages written by her three
children, McFeeture put her head down and began to quietly cry.
"My mom is the greatest mom in the world because
she is sweet and kind. I miss her," said message from Podolak's two
McFeeture's 15-year-old daughter said her mother
raised three beautiful and loving children.
McFeeture was a suspect since the death of Podolak
from what a pathologist concluded was intoxication by ethylene glycol,
the active ingredient in antifreeze. She was not charged until 2012,
after Cleveland police received a tip that the poisoning was not an
accident or a suicide.
Judge in antifreeze poisoning case denies woman
a new trial
By Rachel Dissell - Cleveland.com
August 28, 2013
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cuyahoga County Common Pleas
Judge Brian Corrigan denied motions today to overturn jury verdicts
and order a new trial in the case of a woman convicted last month of
poisoning a former boyfriend with antifreeze.
Corrigan said he believed there was plenty of
testimony on the character and credibility of the main witness,
Corrigan will sentence Holly McFeeture, 35, after a
Her attorneys had argued she deserved a new trial,
saying the prosecutor's office withheld information about the
credibility of the key witness, who had previously been the main
witnesses in another murder trial.
Prosecutors said the information did not have to be
turned over and that defense attorneys could have found information
about his previous testimony online, if they tried.
"None of that was hidden," Assistant Prosecutor
Brian McDonough said.
However, he also said he was not aware of the prior
McFeeture had been a suspect since the January 2006
death of Matthew Podolak from what a pathologist concluded was
intoxication by ethylene glycol, the active ingredient in antifreeze.
But she was not charged until 2012, after Cleveland police received a
tip that the poisoning was not an accident or a suicide.
Defense attorneys said they were never provided
with vital evidence that could have been used to impeach Kennedy's
testimony, in which he said that McFeeture confided in him that she
"put something" in Podolak's drink.
Attorney Bret Jordan said he only found out later
from another attorney that Kennedy was the main informant in another
"We should have been allowed to cross examine him
on the fact that he is a career informant and a career witness...the
fact that everyone is confessing to Mr. Kennedy," Jordan argued.
Jordan also said Kennedy mislead the jury in saying he was nervous
because he had never been in the position of eliciting information in
a murder case before.
In the first case, Kennedy was placed in a cell
with Richard Penque, who eventually told him where a murder weapon was
Penque was convicted in October 2012 of aggravated
murder in the 2008 death of Cleveland schoolteacher Marilyn Habian. He
was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.
Jordan said Kennedy's credibility was key in
McFeeture's trial, one in which there was not overwhelming evidence
against the mother of three.
Prosecutor Brian McDonough said there was plenty of
other medical evidence and testimony from friends and family about
Podolak's fear of McFeeture and his physical symptoms prior to his
The knowledge that Kennedy testified in another
trial would not have changed the outcome, McDonough asserted. He also
said his office acted ethically and transparently. The important part
was that in exchange for Kennedy's testimony, "there was no deal,
there was no promises made."
McFeeture was convicted last month after the
week-long trial during which prosecutors contended that she wanted out
of her relationship with Podolak and began lacing his red raspberry
iced tea with antifreeze over several weeks.
Kennedy, who dated McFeeture, is serving a 10-year
sentence for assaulting a police officer and several probation
violations. He was brought from prison to testify during the trial.
He told the jury that two years after Podolak died,
McFeeture told him after dinner and drinks that she "was sorry for
what she had done."
Defense lawyers maintained that Podolak took a
lethal dose of antifreeze mixed with his tea to kill himself, in part
because of problems he was experiencing at home and at work.
His family members maintained he was never
Jordan additionally argued today that the jury
should not have been able to hear testimony from a doctor who didn't
review Podolak's medical records. He did that an effort convince the
judge to throw out the jury's verdict and acquit McFeeture.
He argued that Dr. Dan Galita should not have been
able to tell the jury that Podolak experienced pain that could have
been related to antifreeze poisoning months before he died.
"It was a blanket statement meant to fit his
theory," Jordan said.
He said the jury was able to make inferences upon
inferences and allowed to speculate on many facts in the case.
McDonough said that there was a variety of
witnesses and evidence presented and that some of it was direct and
some of it circumstantial. He said the jurors were able to come to
their own conclusions.
"Please do the most difficult thing," Jordan asked
Corrigan. "Set Holly free find her not guilty because that's what the
jury should have done. I understand that it's an incredibly difficult
thing to do but, your honor, but do the right thing."
The judge denied that motion as well.
Cleveland woman accused of poisoning fiance
with antifreeze found guilty
By Jen Steer - Newsnet5.com
July 24, 2013
CLEVELAND - The woman accused of poisoning her
fiancé with antifreeze was found guilty on Wednesday.
Holly McFeeture, 35, added antifreeze to Matthew
Podolak’s tea, which he drank each day, prosecutors said. On July 20,
2006, Podolak, 31, went to the doctor for lower back pain and was
treated for kidney stones, then died the next day.
Podolak's older brother Mark pushed hard over the
years to get police and prosecutors to take a closer look at the case.
After the verdict was read Wednesday he said his efforts were worth
"Somebody needed to speak for my brother because
he's not here to speak for himself and he would have done the same
thing for me," he said.
"Somewhere he is smiling down and hopefully he's
proud of his big brother right now."
The couple lived together on Archmere Avenue in
Cleveland with their two children, ages 2 and 6 months, as well as
McFeeture’s 8-year-old from another relationship.
His family looks forward to seeing Samantha, 9 and
"I'd love to see them again," said Matthew's father
Len. "I haven't seen Joshua since he was 6 months old."
McFeeture was arrested on July 26, 2012 for
aggravated murder and contaminating substance for human consumption.
Testimony in the trial included a former boyfriend
of McFeeture's Jamison Kennedy who said McFeeture told him at one time
she had put something in Podolak's drink.
"I think the testimony of Jamison Kennedy really
helped. I think that was the thing," said Mark. "Nobody else would
have known about this case accept him."
Mark Podolak said the verdict gives his family the
chance to do something they haven't been able to do since his
brother's death, truly grieve.
"I think all of us collectively as a family are
going to do that," he said. "I'll tell you I'm going to go to the
cemetery on my way home to say a little prayer, tell my little brother
I tried to do some good for him."
McFeeture faces a sentence of life in prison.
Former boyfriend testifies Cleveland woman
accused in antifreeze poisoning told him she spiked drink
By Peter Krouse - The Plain Dealer
July 18, 2013
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A former boyfriend testified
today in the trial of accused murder Holly McFeeture that she told him
in 2008 that she had spiked the drink of Matthew Podolak, who died in
McFeeture, 35, is charged with aggravated murder
and contaminating a substance for human consumption. She went on trial
Tuesday before Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Brian Corrigan.
Prosecutors claim McFeeture put antifreeze in
Podolak's drinks, likely the tea he routinely would drink, in order to
Jamison Kennedy, 39, who is serving time for
assaulting a Cleveland Police officer, said he met McFeeture while she
was tending bar at the Dirty Dog Tavern in Cleveland.
He said they exchanged phone numbers and began
seeing each other. One evening in September 2008, Kennedy said,
McFeeture met him at a law office in the Hanna Building in Cleveland
where he sometimes did work for an attorney.
After having dinner and sex, McFeeture starting
crying, Kennedy said.
He said McFeeture told him about a homicide
investigation into the death of Podoloak and that McFeeture "was sorry
for what she had done."
When asked by Assistant County Attorney Brian
McDonough what it was that McFeeture said she had done, Kennedy
replied, "On her words, that she had put something in his drink."
McFeeture was not in the courtroom to hear
Kennedy's testimony. She began to sob after McDonough told Corrigan
that he planned to call Kennedy as a witness. Corrigan allowed
McFeeture to be outside the courtroom while Kennedy was on the stand.
Bret Jordan, one of McFeeture's attorneys, said
after the trial recessed for the day, that he and attorney Bill
Summers asked Corrigan to let McFeeture step outside the courtroom
because "she was unable to compose herself."
"She's gone through seven years of torment and
accusations and it's all because of him," Jordan said.
McFeeture's attorneys did not get their chance to
cross-examine Kennedy before the recess.
Prior to Kennedy taking the stand, former
acquaintances of McFeeture's were called to testify for the
prosecution, including Rebecca Vega, who became friends with McFeeture
when their children went to school and played softball together.
Vega said she cut off her relationship with
McFeeture after learning that the cause of Podolak's death was
undetermined, and that the coroner thought it was poisoning.
Cleveland Police Officer Charles Lipscomb testified
that he dated McFeeture for about a year after Podolak had died, but
broke off the relationship after receiving information about Podolak
from a Cleveland detective. He was not asked what that information
Another man, Sean Walsh, testified that he tried to
develop a relationship with McFeeture, but that she wasn't interested.
He said McFeeture told him that Podolak died in "an industrial
Pathologist Dan Galita of the Cuyahoga County
Medical Examiner's Office testified earlier in the trial that Podolak
died from chronic intoxication of ethylene glycol, the active
ingredient in antifreeze.
McFeeture's attorneys argue that their client did
not kill Podolak and that he was depressed at the time and
intentionally ingested a lethal dose of antifreeze to commit suicide.
They intend to support their claims by having an expert witness
testify that Podolak died after ingesting a single dose, rather than
from multiple doses over time.
Podolak and McFeeture lived in Cleveland with their
two children and a third child of McFeeture's from a prior
relationship. Podolak died July 31, 2006, after being taken by
ambulance to Parma General Hospital the previous day.
Podolak had been complaining of back pain about
three months before he died, and again several days before he died,
according to testimony.
Cleveland mom Holly McFeeture charged with
poisoning fiance Matthew Podolak with antifreeze
July 27, 2012
CLEVELAND - A Cleveland woman who coaches youth
baseball has been accused of killing the father of their two children
by poisoning his iced tea with antifreeze six years ago.
Prosecutors said 34-year-old Holly McFeeture killed
her fiance, Matthew Podolak, by pouring antifreeze in his raspberry
tea over weeks and possibly months, because she wanted to end their
relationship. The Plain Dealer newspaper reported that McFeeture was
indicted earlier this week.
When the 31-year-old Podolak died in 2006, the
county coroner ruled it intoxication by ethylene glycol, which is the
active ingredient in antifreeze. The coroner left the manner of death
Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Brian
McDonough said that changed in March 2010, when the death was ruled a
homicide based on a tip received by Cleveland police. He said that
information ruled out suicide or accidental death.
Antifreeze is sweet and odorless when consumed but
poisonous. Five days before his death, Podolak went to the doctor's
office complaining of pain and was given medication for kidney stones.
The prosecutor said Podolak later consumed enough anti-freeze to cause
organ failure and death.
"We believe the antifreeze was administered in
sweet raspberry ice tea that he would drink daily," McDonough said.
McDonough said police do not suspect anybody else
was involved in Podolak's death, but he thinks there are people with
information who have yet to come forward.
The newspaper said McFeeture coaches baseball in a
Cleveland area youth league. Her Facebook page lists her most recent
job as a butcher at a stall in the city's West Side Market.
Matthew Podolak's older brother, Mark Podolak, said
his family suspected McFeeture had something to do with his brother's
"She just wasn't acting like somebody who was
losing or about to lose a loved one," he said.
McFeeture was indicted Tuesday and arrested
Wednesday. She currently is at the Cuyahoga County Jail, and is
scheduled to be arraigned Monday on charges of aggravated murder and
one count of contaminating substance for human consumption.