Woman resentenced in 1998 runaway slaying

December 9, 2018 GMT

CLEARFIELD, Pa. (AP) — A woman formerly serving a life term in the slaying of a fellow teenager two decades ago in Pennsylvania could be eligible for parole in about 15 years following a resentencing hearing.

Jessica Holtmeyer, 36, was resentenced Friday in Clearfield County Court in light of a Supreme Court decision barring life without parole terms for juveniles, The (Altoona) Mirror reported.


Holtmeyer was 16 when prosecutors said she hung 15-year-old Kimberly Jo Dotts and smashed her face with a rock in remote Clearfield County woods in May 1998 while a boy helped and others watched. Authorities said the teens planned to run away to Florida and feared Dotts would tell adults.

At a July hearing, defense witnesses maintained that Holtmeyer had already been rehabilitated. A prisons department re-entry coordinator called her “one of the best” certified peer support specialists he has worked with at the Muncy prison. A co-worker praised her work with inmates getting ready to re-enter society.

Senior Judge Daniel Howsare referred to that testimony in sentencing Holtmeyer to 35 years to life for first degree murder, 10 to 20 years for criminal conspiracy and three to 10 years for aggravated assault, with the latter terms running at the same time as the murder sentence. The judge said the decision may not make anyone happy but he felt it was consistent with the information he reviewed, including testimony, arguments, trial transcripts and victim impact statements.

Defense attorney Patrick Lavelle said he would seek reconsideration of the maximum term. District Attorney William Shaw Jr. said he had hoped the judge would keep the original sentences on the additional charges.

The crime made national news and became the subject of an episode of Killer Kids — “Tattletale Terror & Army Brat” — which formerly aired on the Biography Channel


Information from: Altoona Mirror, http://www.altoonamirror.com