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A Baltimore City judge handed down a life sentence plus 63 years to a murder defendant on Dec. 6 in what she described as “one of the most haunting cases” to come before her over the two decades she’s served on the bench.
Nearly two years ago, on Dec. 14, 2020, Henry Orella and his father were at a Citgo gas station on the 1100 block of Dundalk Avenue to fill up their vehicle before heading to work in Washington, D.C. That was when 29-year-old William Holland walked up to their car and began making demands.
“Henry didn’t comply due to the language barrier,” the prosecutor told Circuit Court Judge Jeannie Hong during Holland’s sentencing on Dec. 6.
Holland then shot Orella multiple times and was tackled by the victim’s father, who he knocked unconscious.
“This was a fast verdict for this jury,” the prosecutor said, as the jurors found Holland guilty of first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, as well as armed robbery, assault, and weapons charges in less than four hours this past April.
“The fact that [Orella’s] father couldn’t save [his son] has had a lasting impact on this family,” she said.
The prosecutor told Judge Hong that Orella’s parents could not bring themselves to attend Holland’s sentencing on Tuesday; however, Orella’s father wrote in a letter that he is “so hurt after losing Henry,” and that the defendant should be held accountable for his actions by serving a maximum sentence.
Holland addressed the court toward the end of the proceeding, asking the victim’s attending siblings for forgiveness.
“I’m in a cell every day. I think about this case every day,” said Holland, explaining the hurt the victim’s family feels not seeing their loved one and the same feelings he has not seeing his family.
Before the defendant addressed the court, Holland’s defense attorney, Angela Shelton, called upon the defendant’s cousin and aunt, who repeatedly expressed their love and support for Holland and asked the judge to offer him programs during his incarceration that would help with rehabilitation.
“I’m asking the court not to take his whole life away from him,” Holland’s cousin said.
“He’s a good kid. He’s made bad decisions,” his aunt added. “He’s not as bad as they made him out to be.”
During the proceedings, Shelton asked the court for a sentence of life—not the prosecution’s recommended life plus 65 years—and consider Holland’s upbringing, including lead poisoning when he was two years old, the lack of a father growing up, and mental health issues.
Judge Hong acknowledged these issues but reminded the defense counsel and Holland of the overwhelming support he had from his family at those times.
“That one action almost two years ago has completely annihilated this family,” Judge Hong said, pointing to Orella’s siblings, “but also your family.”
The judge concluded the proceedings by imposing a sentence of life plus 63 years.Follow this case