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Home » News » Crime

September 03. 2014 10:35PM

Salem man loses bid to be freed early from prison in toddler abuse case

BRENTWOOD — A Salem man serving a decade in state prison for abusing his 3½-month-old daughter was denied a request to be freed two years ahead of his minimum parole date.Judge N. William Delker rejected a bid by John Holland, 35, to have his prison term cut short without a hearing.

Delker cited the seriousness of the crime and Holland’s disciplinary record while at the prison in rejecting the request. Holland’s lawyer, Mark Stevens, asked a judge on March 21 to consider reducing his client’s 10- to 20-year prison sentence, saying his client served nearly two years beyond when he could have petitioned for a sentence reduction under state law.

Holland pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in July 2005. Prosecutors had argued that Holland’s request should be rejected without a hearing, saying that bringing family members back to court would only “re-victimize” them.

Stevens said that his client made significant efforts to rehabilitate himself. Holland was sentenced in February 2007.

Prosecutors said when the baby girl was brought to Children’s Hospital in 2005, doctors concluded she had four areas of bleeding to the brain, three rib fractures, two femur fractures, swelling to the head and bruising.

The baby “was very close to death” and went through many physical therapy and speech therapy sessions after being discharged from the hospital, according to Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway.

Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau noted during the 2007 sentencing hearing that the Probation Department recommended that Holland only serve seven years of a 10-year minimum sentence.

Nadeau decided against suspending three years of the minimum sentence.

Stevens argued his client had a right to a hearing based on what Nadeau said at the time of sentencing about petitioning for a sentence reduction.

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