Chad Holley is now 16. Seven months ago, when he was arrested for burglary with three other suspects, he was 15. But what made this case so noteworthy is the beating Holley says he suffered at the hands of several Houston police officers. It was all recorded on a storage warehouse security camera.
Monday wasn't about the aftermath of the arrest, but the burglary itself. And his attorneys say there's no evidence that Holley committed it.
"No, Chad, didn't have a role in the burglary and the police officers will testify the other three all did. It's just association," said said Lance Hamm, Holley's lawyer.
That's not exactly what two undercover officers told the jury. They testified they had the group under surveillance and saw three of them, including Holley, come out of a townhouse, "carrying some things in their arms."
One said Holley was holding what appeared to be a bag. But then, one testified no prints had been taken by police at the burglary scene in a crime with multiple suspects.
Officer Honorio Sanchez testified that police had surveillance on four male suspects in March, in response to a series of burglaries in west Houston.
Among them, Sanchez testified, was Chad Holley who he described as leaving a burglary location with a bag. The suspects were pursued and the bag, which contained jewelry, was tossed from the fleeing truck as police chased it.
The second undercover HPD officer testified that he saw Holley and several others and gave chase. They found stolen goods in the truck the suspects were in, but he did not offer specifics on Holley. None of the stolen jewelry was reportedly found on Holley, and officers did not take fingerprint evidence from the crime scene.
Neither Holley nor his family spoke publicly today, but their spokesperson did.
"They have established at one point in this trial so far Chad Holley's involvement in a crime. Right now, I'm shocked no fingerprints were taken. There's no physical evidence tying him to a crime," said Quanell X, family spokesperson.
Both sides rested Monday. The defense did so without calling a single witness. Final arguments will begin on Tuesday.
Surveillance video at heart of trial
Four officers are facing misdemeanor charges of official oppression related to Holley's reported videotaped beating. But prosecutors and a judge have refused to allow the public to see the tape.
Sources tell Eyewitness News that the video will not be shown in this trial because before trial, the judge granted a motion to exclude it. Chad Holley's lawyers say Holley is not a burglar, but a good kid who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Holley arrived to the courthouse this morning with his mother, who says the 16-year-old still suffers side effects from the injuries he sustained during the alleged beating at the hands of Houston police.
Four officers now face criminal charges for their role in the alleged attack during which Holley was reportedly kicked and punched while he was in handcuffs.
Holley is charged with burglary of a habitation. This morning, an undercover tactical officer, who is not one of the officers charged, is testifying that he saw Holley near the scene of the burglary riding in the bed of a pickup truck with stolen television sets and mattresses.
During opening statements, Holley's lawyer said Holley was present for that crime, but he claimed not a single officer saw Holley actually stealing from the home.
Three other people were charged in that crime, one of whom is going to take the stand against Chad Holley.
"As far as a role in the actual burglary, no, Chad did not have a role in the burglary," said Lance Hamm, Holley's lawyer. "The police officers will testify that the three other individuals all did. It is just association."
"We feel that the evidence that's going to be presented is going to exonerate Chad and is going to show that he was not involved in any type of delinquent conduct," added Wilvin Carter, another attorney for Holley.
"He's gonna get a form of probation, if he gets anything," said KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy. "The worst thing that's going to happen to him, a form of probation. The most likely outcome is a dismissal."
There are no cameras in the courtroom because Holley is 16, a juvenile. He was 15 at the time of the alleged crime.
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