clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

VICTIM'S FATHER SPEAKS OUT AS `PREDATOR' IS SENTENCED

James Kenneth Holt shuffled a step away and dropped his head in apparent shame as the father of a 15-year-old girl labeled him an "arrogant predator, kidnapper and rapist" in open court Monday.

Holt, who was charged with using a "lost puppy" ploy last summer to kidnap and sexually molest the teen and one other girl, was in court to be sentenced for the crimes.He had just pleaded for leniency when the girl's father, invited by the judge, stepped forward and spoke loudly to the silenced courtroom.

"It is difficult to contain the rage I feel," said the man. "The consequences are earth-shattering . . . it is and has been a parent's worst nightmare."

Police say Holt stalked the teenager and a 9-year-old girl in separate incidents and lured them into his car by asking them to look for his lost dog. In each case, he then drove them to secluded areas, pulled a blanket from his trunk, held them down by their wrists and assaulted them.

He was charged with two counts of kidnapping and one count each of rape and sexual abuse of a child after Salt Lake police and parents caught him prowling a Rose Park neighborhood.

Detectives said they were fortunate to catch him and that he could have easily victimized more youngsters. They suspected him in at least six previous unsuccessful abduction attempts.

Holt, 38, pleaded guilty to the charges and in exchange did not face minimum mandatory time that could have put him behind bars for 30 years with no chance of parole.

Third District Judge Michael Murphy sentenced him to two consecutive terms of five years to life at the Utah State Prison. The Board of Pardons will decide exactly how long he remains an inmate.

The father of the teenage victim called Holt by name only once in his 30-second statement to Murphy, referring to Holt otherwise as "the predator, rapist and kidnapper."

Holt turned his shoulder away from the father and looked down during the man's remarks. Defense attorney Stephen R. McCaughey later said his client knew what he had done was wrong and sincerely wants help.

Holt himself said he regretted his actions. "I realized I was wrong a long time ago, but it's a little difficult to get it until you get to prison . . . I want to correct it. I'm an intelligent person, and I want to use that to cure me," he said to the judge. The man has a master's degree and speaks four languages.

He asked Murphy to sentence him concurrently, noting that he did not physically injure his victims. But the judge said the crimes were "inherently violent" and that Holt had already received a deal from prosecutors.

The parents of both victims agreed to the plea bargain so their children would not have to testify at trial.