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Erik Wayne HOLLIE





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: September 8, 2009
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: October 1, 1984
Victim profile: Denmon Ward, 54 (store owner)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Wesson, Copiah County, Mississippi, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on March 16, 2010

Mississippi Department of Corrections

Ofender Data Sheet

Erik Hollie Sentenced to Death in 2009 Mississippi Murder

March 17, 2010

HAZLEHURST, MS (WLBT) A Copiah County man gets the death sentence after confessing he killed a Wesson pawn shop operator in September 2009.

The jury returned the unanimous decision after deliberating for just over an hour and ten minutes.

25- year-old Erik Hollie pleaded guilty to the murder then asked to for the death penalty.

Hollie stood up in court and told the jury considering his fate that he was guilty. He had confessed to the crime the day after he was arrested in September of 2009, and told investigators he wanted the death penalty.

He got what he wanted for shooting 54-year-old Denmon Ward at least five times in the robbery of Ward's Pawn Shop in downtown Wesson.

Hollie had also robbed a convenience store in Georgetown the day before and was caught on surveillance tape during the commission of that crime.

The star witness in the trial was Milton Twiner, the chief investigator for Copiah County, who had gotten the confession on tape.

"He wanted what he got. He asked for the death penalty, it's a crime that warranted the death penalty, and a jury of his peers handed him the death penalty. He showed no remorse at any time during the whole thing, he was kind of, he was real cooperative, he was up front with it, I just wish that he had told me how it happened," said Twiner.

In death penalty cases, there is an automatic appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Families on both sides had very little to say to the media.


Hollie sentenced to death in Sept. pawn shop killing

By Therese Apel -

March 17, 2010

HAZLEHURST - As convicted murderer Erik Hollie left a Copiah County courtroom after being sentenced to death on Tuesday, members of his family shouted, "We love you, Erik."

On the other side of the courtroom, the family of his victim, Denmon Ward, held hands and wiped away tears, seemingly relieved that the ordeal that began on Sept. 8, 2009, was over. Unlike Hollie's clan, they had not been able to tell their father and husband they loved him before Ward was killed by Hollie that Tuesday afternoon in Wesson Pawn & Gun.

"We last saw him Sept. 11 in his casket, and that was our last time to say goodbye, and thank you for your wonderful life," said Ward's wife Ursula Ward. "The impact of this will change my life forever. Erik Hollie has taken something from us that cannot be replaced."

Hollie, 24, pleaded guilty to capital murder in Ward's shooting death, and Tuesday's proceedings were in order to allow the jury to suggest a sentence. The jury's options included life in prison or the death sentence.

The jury considered facts from forensic pathologist Dr. Bruce Levy, who testified that Ward was hit by six bullets, including one shot to the head that appeared to have come when he was already laying face down on the ground, and Chief Investigator Milton Twiner, who said Hollie never showed any remorse for the killing.

After the jury received instructions for deliberations, Hollie's attorney, M.A. Bass, asked Circuit Judge Lamar Pickard to allow his client to address the panel.

"Let the Lord deal with me," Hollie said. "Sentence me to death."

Copiah County Chief Deputy Tony Hemphill said it was rather shocking to see Hollie ask the jury for the death penalty.

"It was very unorthodox, and he got what he asked for. Regardless of how a person he is or how he thinks, you still have to use all your resources," Hemphill said. "I think by not allowing his lawyer to defend him any way he could, I thought it was ludicrous."

Yet Hemphill said Hollie had given a full confession to the crime, and that possibly though he has shown no remorse, he may be simply taking his punishment.

"He absolutely knows what he's doing," he said. "He can blame anybody he wants to, but I think this is his way of just saying here I am, I did it, take me."

The jury decision was returned in just over an hour. Jurors unanimously agreed Hollie should die for his role in Ward's death.

"I do hereby sentence you to death by the method described by the state of Mississippi at a time to be determined," said Pickard, who added on a 50-year sentence for armed robbery.

In Mississippi, the death sentence carries an automatic appeal, though officials don't really know what to expect from Hollie since he has asked for the death penalty since he confessed to the crime the day he turned himself in to Wesson police and the Copiah County Sheriff's Department in the middle of Highway 51 in Wesson.

The court then heard impact statements from the victim's family. Ward's family told the court of the ways that their lives have been changed forever.

"I don't even feel like I can be a good mother to my children because I'm a grieving child myself," said daughter Julie Case. "I fear my children won't even remember him as a person, just the horror of his death."

Ward's son, Wesson Police Chief Chad O'Quinn, is currently stationed overseas, but members of his department said it is a relief to have the case finished so that the healing can begin.

"As far as the police department is concerned, it didn't matter if the sentence was life in prison or the death penalty, we're happy that the family got justice," said acting Police Chief Chad Sills.

Hemphill said that while he's happy that justice has been done for Ward's family, he is touched for Hollie's.

"Chad (O'Quinn)'s been a friend of mine for years, even back in school. I'm just glad it's over for his sake," Hemphill said. "But I feel for Erik's mother, I really do. I'm a father, and I can't imagine sitting there watching your child go through something like this and getting up and asking the jury for the death sentence in her presence, I can't imagine how that made her feel."

After the victim impact statements, Hollie, who had remained stoic throughout the trial, declined to speak to the courtroom.

"It's all good," Hollie said.


Erik Wayne Hollie



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