HASTINGS, Minn. (AP) — Prosecutors said Monday a Minnesota man was the only person with a reason to kill his pregnant wife and that no one else could have committed the crime in the time frame he provided for the morning of her death.
Roger Holland, 37, is accused of killing his wife, Margorie, who was 15 weeks pregnant, on March 7 in their Apple Valley apartment.
Prosecutors contended during closing arguments that the couple's marriage was falling apart, and they said Margorie Holland was talking about leaving her husband and turning him in to police for using her credit cards.
But Holland's attorneys argued that he would have to be "the stupidest murderer ever" to commit the crime how prosecutors described it. The defense maintained that investigators decided from the start that Holland was guilty and ignored other evidence or explanations, particularly a fall down the stairs.
Jury deliberations began Monday afternoon, the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://bit.ly/1bLyvzC ) reported.
In closing arguments, Dakota County prosecutor Phil Prokopowicz said Roger Holland had been lying to his wife about having a job. If she walked out on him and the lie was exposed, he would have been ruined, Prokopowicz said.
He said Holland put himself in a difficult situation by claiming he left Margorie at home — and seemingly fine — on March 7 to get breakfast and returned 20 minutes later to find she had collapsed.
There were no signs of forced entry, and Holland "created this short window of opportunity that only he could enter," Prokopowicz said.
He underscored the medical examiner's finding that Margorie died of strangulation and had cuts, bruises and neck injuries that were not fatal.
Prokopowicz also said Internet searches about neck breaking and breaking necks from falling down stairs pointed to premeditation, the key element of first-degree murder.
Holland claimed most of those searches were made to settle a debate between him and his wife about a neck-breaking assassin in a novel they read. He said he didn't make a similar search on March 6, when a question about falling down the stairs and breaking one's neck was entered into his phone.
He told first responders he found Margorie Holland's body at the bottom of the stairs. Either the searches were "an incredible coincidence" or part of a plan to try to cover up a murder, Prokopowicz said.
Defense attorney Marsh Halberg said the March 6 search was made by Margorie Holland, who had access to her husband's phone. It wasn't a coincidence, Halberg said, but a real fear she had because of chronic dizziness and a recent dream in which she'd fallen and broken her neck.
"That's a logical thing to search for because it's a topic that's going on in the household," Halberg said in his closing argument.
Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com