Murder Victim was ‘Dragged to Her Death’ by Boyfriend, Prosecutor Says

Baltimore Courthouse

During closing arguments in a murder trial Sept. 14, a prosecutor laid out the victim and defendant’s last public interaction.

Marco Holmes, 27, is charged with second-degree murder, use of a firearm while committing a felony crime, and having a handgun on his person in connection with the 2017 murder of 20-year-old Tonja Chadwick.

The prosecution presented evidence showing Holmes in a violent argument with the victim, in which he is shown taking her cell phone from her, grabbing her, and “dragging her to her death” outside of a laundromat.

The prosecutor showed the jury video footage from the laundromat, where Chadwick was last seen alive with the defendant, who was her boyfriend, days before her body was discovered. 

While the defense said Holmes did not have a history of fighting with his girlfriend, the prosecutor told the jury that domestic violence often happens behind closed doors.

According to the prosecutor, DNA evidence found at Chadwick’s apartment and under her fingernails, bruises found on her arms, a large amount of cleaning supplies, and what appeared to be fresh scratches on the defendant’s face are all a part of the “plethora” of evidence that proves Holmes killed Chadwick.

He is alleged to have dumped the young mother’s body in Daisy Park in Southwest Baltimore, after shooting her in the forehead in her apartment, located on the 4700 block of Parkside Drive, on the same night that the on-camera altercation occurred. Chadwick’s body was recovered on Feb. 2, 2017.

“There is no phantom killer. The killer is in this courtroom,” said the prosecutor. “Tonja was killed by her boyfriend.”

Holmes’ defense attorney, Roland Brown, told the jury that several witnesses contradicted themselves. He said “multiple stories” about the defendant were told to the police and jurors by the same witness. 

Brown explained that a mask found in the victim’s car with unknown DNA is indicative of Holmes’ innocence and the prosecution’s case is based solely on “presumptions and assumptions”.

“These are red herrings,” Roland said, regarding the alleged scratch wounds on his client. “The facts don’t agree.”

While defense counsel asserted that there is significant reasonable doubt and an unclear time of death, the prosecution said there only could have been one killer.

The jury began deliberations at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Videtta Brown.