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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Poisoner
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: July 31, 2006
Date of arrest: July 26, 2012
Date of birth: 1978
Victim profile: Matthew Podolak, 31 (her former boyfriend)
Method of murder: Poisoning (antifreeze)
Location: Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison with a possibility of parole after 30 years on August 28, 2013
photo gallery

Judge sentences woman to life in prison for antifreeze poisoning murder

By Rachel Dissell -

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 younger children.

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 -

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, Jamison Kennedy.

Corrigan will sentence Holly McFeeture, 35, after a short break.

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 testimony.

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 murder case.

"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 located.

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 death.

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 suicidal.

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 -

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 it.

"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 Joshua, 7.

"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 2006.

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 kill him.

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 was.

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 accident."

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 undetermined.

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 death.

"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.



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