Judge asked to deny early release for Salem man in baby abuse case
BRENTWOOD — Prosecutors are asking a judge to reject a Salem man’s request to be released from state prison two years ahead of his minimum parole date, saying his 3 ½-month-old daughter nearly died in 2005 from being abused by him.
John Holland, 35, of Salem asked a Rockingham County Superior Court judge on March 21, to suspend the minimum term from his 10 to 20 year prison sentence.
He has served more than eight years in state prison after being sentenced in February 2007. Holland pleaded guilty to first-degree assault for abusing his 3-month-old daughter in July 2005.
Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway argued in court papers that a judge should deny Holland’s request for an early release without a court hearing.
“This family went through an awful ordeal at the hands of (Holland),” she said in court papers. “Bringing them back to court to relive this experience will only serve to re-victimize both the family and (the victim).”
Defense lawyer Mark Stevens said Holland has served nearly two years beyond when he could have asked for a sentence reduction under state law. Holland has completed anger management and parenting training while serving his sentence, according to Stevens.
Conway said her office is attempting to check into the current health of Holland’s daughter, who is living with her maternal grandmother.
“Back in 2007, no one really knew how these injuries would affect (her) in the long run,” Conway said in court papers.
When the baby girl was brought to Children’s Hospital in 2005, doctors concluded she had been abused at least twice and had four areas of bleeding to the brain, three rib fractures, two femur fractures, swelling to the head and bruising, according to Conway.
“This baby suffered very serious injuries at the hands of her biological father,” Conway said in a court motion.
The baby girl “was very close to death” and went through numerous physical therapy appointments and speech therapy sessions after being discharged from the hospital, according to Conway.
Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau noted during the 2007 sentencing hearing that the Probation Department recommended that Holland only serve seven of a 10-year minimum sentence.
Nadeau decided against suspending three years of the minimum sentence.
“I’m not going to give you three off up front, but there is a provision of law that allows you to come back to court, regardless of what I sentence in six and a half or so years,” Nadeau said, according to a transcript of the hearing. “And at that time, I’ll weigh your behavior in prison. But I’m not willing at this point to give you that time off before I see how you do there.”
No hearing date has been set for Holland’s request.