Roger Holland's defense: Killing wife's fetus was abortion, not murder
Holland's mugshot (left); Holland and his wife, Margorie (right).
As we told you about in March, 36-year-old National Guard veteran and Apple Valley resident Roger Holland was charged with two counts of murder in connection with the death of his pregnant wife -- one for her and one for her dead fetus.
But in hopes of getting one of the charges dismissed, Holland's attorney, Marsh Halberg, plans to use a unique and possibly precedent-setting argument when his trial starts next week.
Halberg will argue that the death of Holland's wife's fetus was an abortion, not murder.
The Pioneer Press explains:
[Halberg's argument is] rooted in the idea that two state laws -- one barring unlawful abortion, the other barring the murder of an unborn child -- govern essentially the same conduct but carry different punishments...
"The exact conduct he is being accused of is chargeable under a separate, less severe statute," Halberg wrote in a motion seeking to have the charges dismissed.
Criminal abortion is an unranked offense in Minnesota, leaving the sentence up to the court's discretion depending on the case. Murder of an unborn child carries a sentence of up to life in prison.
Halberg said the abortion law is the proper fit for what Holland is accused of doing -- ending a pregnancy without consent.
Even if a court of law was to find merit in that argument, it doesn't mean Holland would walk away scot free for allegedly strangling his wife after she told him she wanted a divorce. The first-degree murder charge Holland faces in connection with her death could land him behind bars for the rest of his life regardless of what happens with the "murder of an unborn child" allegation.
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