HCSO: Beaten teen Chad Holley arrested in connection to new break-in

June 13, 2012 8:24:14 PM PDT
Chad Holley, the teen who was beaten by Houston police officers in a 2010 burglary arrest, has been arrested in connection with an afternoon break-in at a northwest Harris County home.

Eyewitness News was the first to break the news shortly before 5pm.

Holley, 18, had nothing to say to us as he was being escorted by sheriff's deputies to the main county jail, where he will make his initial court appearance. He and three other adults suspects now are charged with burglary of habitation.

The break-in was a reported around 2pm Wednesday as a burglary-in-progress at a home in the 14000 block of Forest Trails Drive.

Brandon Scott, a witness to the alleged burglary, says his neighbors are out of town so he is keeping an eye out on their home. He says he just happened to come home from work early when he saw a suspicious red car and immediately got concerned.

He says that red car drove in front of his house and slowly backed around the corner. He says he looked outside and saw four men jumping fences into the backyard and walking the fence line near a bayou on forest trails.

Scott says he immediately grabbed his weapon when he noticed the suspected burglars canvassing his backyard and his neighbor's yard and called 911.

Scott says he could see the suspicious guys passing electronics, like laptops and other property, over the fence.

"I was afraid they were coming in to my house, so I loaded up my gun ready for them to come into my house. They didn't. I called 911 and just described everything to the operator, telling them what's going on; witnessed the whole thing," Scott said.

Officers then stopped a red car vehicle matching the description and found the four suspects inside. One of those suspects identified himself as Chad Holley. Deputies arrested him and later confirmed his identification to Eyewitness News. He was questioned at the Harris County Sheriff's Office District 4 substation on Clay Road and subsequently charged.

In March 2010, a then 15-year-old Holley was beaten by HPD officers during a burglary arrest. His beating was captured on a nearby surveillance video, which was turned over to authorities. As a result, six officers were fired and four of them were charged with misdemeanor official oppression. One of the officers, Andrew Blomberg, was acquitted last month, sparking outrage among many who did not agree with the verdict. The other officers are still awaiting trial.

In October 2010, Holley himself was convicted in connection to that burglary. He was sentenced to probation, which he completed in April when he turned 18. During his testimony in Blomberg's trial, Holley said he had stayed out of trouble during his probation. He graduated from high school last month.

Neighbors say there have been other burglaries in the area and a red car has been seen leaving the properties. Many of them say they are familiar with the Chad Holley beating case and said they find it disappointing the teen seemed to have not learned his lesson.

The woman whose home was burglarized by Holley in 2010 seemed to have a similar opinion.

She told us Wednesday, "It's not surprising to me because I knew he was going to go back down the same road if he didn't have someone encourage him. He should have learned a lesson and did the right thing."

Dick Deguerin, Blomberg's attorney, told us prosecutors portrayed Holley as a young man who had learned his lesson after his conviction for burglary two years ago.

"Well I'm not surprised," Deguerin said. "I'm disappointed for him and his family, but in the bottom line, he's a thief and a burglar and these police officers were protecting you and me from people like him."

Deguerin believes this new arrest should dismiss the cases against the three other officers still facing charges in the Holley beating. Former HPD officers Drew Ryser, Philip Bryan and Raad Hassan all still face trial.

"I hope that the district attorney's office will review the case in light of their witness and in light of the good job that the police officers were doing in arresting him," he said.

Meanwhile, community activists who stood beside Holley after his beating arrest also are speaking out. Quanell X says he is disappointed with the latest developments because he'd spent a lot of time with Holley over the last two years.

"It does not negate that excessive use of force and police brutality exists here in Houston. The videotape showed us that young men are beaten by cops in this city but the decision that young brother made today is heartbreaking," Quanell X said. "I'm hoping that a jury can still see the videotape and weigh the officers' actions based on what is on that videotape and not allow what happened here today to get in their way based on the facts of that day. But has he lost tremendous credibility, and sympathy and empathy and empathy with the public, yes."

Houston Police Officers' Union President Ray Hunt says this new case will make it tougher for the other officers to get fair trials.

"This is more publicity brought on by Chad Holley that we didn't want," Hunt said.

But KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy says the publicity could influence potential jurors.

"If the jury finds out that Chad Holley committed another crime, it's gonna be very difficult to get convictions from these other three officers because the jury's gonna say, 'Listen, this kid had one chance and one opportunity he's done it again; maybe what the officers did wasn't such a bad thing,'" Androphy said.

Androphy also tells us this latest Holley burglary case could affect the potential damages awarded in Holley's civil lawsuit over his beating.

No trial dates have been set for the other former officers charged in the Holley beating case.

We've been following the Chad Holley case since the first burglary arrest. You can see all our reports here.


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