January 27, 1999
Holtzer gets 10 to 15 years for beating
Judge levies maximum penalty for assault on TC woman
By PATRICK SULLIVAN
Photo by John L. Russell
When asked by the judge if he wanted to speak, Kevin Holtzer said "I have nothing to say."
Record-Eagle staff writer
TRAVERSE CITY - A judge gave Kevin Holtzer the maximum sentence of 10 to 15 years in prison Tuesday for a brutal assault in an alley just over a year ago.
Thirteenth Circuit Judge Thomas Power cited the viciousness of the attack in sentencing Holtzer to the maximum, after a day of testimony about DNA evidence in an unrelated murder case.
A jury convicted Holtzer in December of assault with intent to do great bodily harm after prosecutors used DNA evidence to connect Holtzer to the Jan. 24 attack on Kristen LaCharite in an alley behind Front Street.
Holtzer pulled LaCharite from her pickup as she sat waiting for a friend to return home, knocked her unconscious and continued to beat her, possibly causing a permanent closed head injury.
Holtzer, smiling and laughing with two of his three lawyers before the hearing, said, "I have nothing to say," when Power asked him if he wanted to speak.
Alan Schneider, Grand Traverse assistant prosecutor, called Holtzer "chronically violent and destructive," and asked for the maximum sentence.
Power sentenced Holtzer to more than the 10 years in prison allowed for the charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm because prosecutors also charged Holtzer with being an habitual offender, allowing Power to enhance the sentence.
Holtzer served one year in jail in Ingham County after a conviction several years ago on charges of unarmed robbery.
Holtzer's criminal history also includes convictions for vandalism and reckless driving, and a domestic assault charge that was dismissed. Power said the behavior described in that charge was "extremely violent," including tying up a live-in girlfriend.
When it was his turn to ask for a lighter sentence, defense lawyer Larry Willey said he would not speak about the details of the LaCharite assault or Holtzer's good and bad personal traits.
"Mr. Holtzer at the trial maintained that he was not guilty and Mr. Holtzer still maintains that," Willey said.
Calling attention surrounding the case a "highly charged atmosphere," Willey asked Power to ignore public feeling about the case and disregard the fact that Holtzer awaits trial on murder charges in an unrelated case.
"Mr. Holtzer has been front-page news in this town for almost a year now, and it's news that is almost always negative," Willey said.
Schneider agreed that Power should set aside media interest and not consider the murder charges pending against Holtzer, but said that just considering the brutality and randomness of the attack, Power should conclude that Holtzer deserves the maximum.
LaCharite moved away from Michigan after the attack and did not attend the hearing, but wrote a letter to the court that her mother, Patricia, distributed to the media.
"I feel that Kevin Holtzer is a person that gets great pleasure from the beatings he gives his victims. His abnormal thoughts and uncontrolled rage must be considered by this system," LaCharite wrote.
She said head injuries still plague her, causing an inability to concentrate that has made it impossible to stay employed since the attack.
"He shows no guilt, shame, or remorse for his actions. I again ask, WHY? There is an evilness in him that I cannot comprehend and never saw before in ANYONE."
Patricia LaCharite, who attended the sentencing, said she was relieved Holtzer got more prison time than the original charge would have allowed, but said she fears a justice system that could let him out of prison on parole early and gives criminal defendants too many rights.
"I think he's a sociopath and that the only thing that he's ever worried about was getting caught," she said. "There's something really wrong with him; he has no feelings."
DNA evidence debated in murder trial (January 27, 1999)