Prosecutor: Suspect in Vegas severed head case a prior felon

Ken Ritter
Associated Press

Las Vegas – A prosecutor in Las Vegas told a judge Tuesday that a man jailed after police found the severed head and body parts of an acquaintance in the truck he was driving has prior felony and federal criminal convictions dating to the 1980s in states including California, Texas and Nevada.

Eric Holland stood in court flanked by heavily armed security guards and an attorney temporarily appointed to his case for a brief hearing at which a Las Vegas judge ordered him held without bail pending another court appearance next week.

This Clark County Detention Center photo provided by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police shows Eric Holland, 57, following his arrest Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021, in Las Vegas.

Justice of the Peace Harmony Letizia set a preliminary hearing of evidence for Jan. 27.

Holland, 57, was not asked to enter a plea to the murder charge against him, and his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Sarah Hawkins, declined outside court to comment on his behalf.

Prosecutor Giancarlo Pesci listed Holland’s three-state criminal history under names including Eric John Holland and Eric Allen Holland, and told the judge that Holland represents a danger to the community and should not be allowed out on bail.

Holland’s alleged victim was identified Tuesday as Richard P. Miller of Las Vegas. The Clark County coroner said Miller died last Thursday from multiple gunshot wounds and his death was a homicide.

“The victim is literally cut into pieces,” Pesci said in court. “His head is cut off.”

Holland “fled from police” in an allegedly stolen truck and then got into another allegedly stolen vehicle before he was arrested, the prosecutor said.

Police later found receipts in the vehicles for items purchased from a home improvement store where Pesci said Holland was seen on security cameras pushing a cart with a saw in it.

“This is an individual who literally had the body cut up into pieces in that car that he flees from the police (in),” he told the judge, “who has felonies spanning four decades and a current case pending.”

Outside court, Pesci said Holland and Miller knew each other, but he didn’t know the extent of their acquaintance.

Holland had been sought since May 2019 on an arrest warrant in a 2018 case in Las Vegas accusing him of embezzlement, identity theft, issuing false checks and theft, according to court records. He had posted $5,000 bail in that case.

KLAS-TV in Las Vegas reported that court records showed Holland was accused in 2018 of stealing a truck and selling it.

Holland served prison time in Nevada for a felony conviction in Las Vegas on theft charges stemming from a forgery case filed in 2000. Prison records say he used names including John Carl Hall, Phil Whidden, Robert Daniel Lauer and Steven Tauber.

His previous convictions as an adult date to 1987 in California for embezzlement, property theft and false identification, Pesci said, and Holland also had a conviction in federal court in Texas in a counterfeiting case.

Pesci said Holland was found guilty in California in 1997 of assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest causing substantial bodily harm, and records show Holland also was convicted in 1991 in U.S. District Court in Texas of attempted escape and aiding in an escape. His post-prison supervision was transferred to Nevada in 2014.

Holland’s arrest Thursday came after he drove away from police trying to stop him in an allegedly stolen truck. Police said he then switched to another truck that he tried to abandon before he was captured.

“Holland threw various items at officers in an attempt to flee, but he was taken into custody,” police said in a statement.

Officers searching the second truck discovered the dismembered human remains in ice chests, homicide Lt. Ray Spencer told KLAS-TV.

“I mean, you can imagine the horror when you open up an ice chest and you find a human head inside,” Spencer said.