A 58-year-old Las Vegas man will spend at least the next 18 years behind bars for murdering his friend. That’s after reaching a plea deal with Clark County prosecutors.
Eric John Holland was arrested following a brief chase on Dec. 23, 2021, near the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino west of the Las Vegas Strip. Metro Police discovered human remains, including a severed head, in Holland’s Toyota Tundra pickup truck.
Holland initially told police he was the unluckiest criminal in Las Vegas. He said he had stolen the vehicle and was unaware of the human remains inside.
Police called Holland’s bluff, as the strong odor was too pungent to go unnoticed. Holland later admitted that the remains belonged to his friend, 65-year-old Richard Miller, who Holland had murdered after the two got into a heated argument.
Criminal Off Streets
Holland has a lengthy criminal record and has been referred to as a career criminal.
Holland was a wanted man since May 2019, when Las Vegas police issued a warrant for his arrest after he was accused of embezzlement, identity theft, issuing false checks, and theft. He had posted $5,000 bail in that case, but never returned to face the charges.
Holland avoided a possible life sentence by reaching a guilty plea for second-degree murder and felony theft. He said he was “truly remorseful” during sentencing on Thursday before Clark County Judge Tierra Jones.
It’s a terrible thing that happened and I’m just so sorry,” Holland told the court.
Jones sentenced Holland to 18 to 45 years in prison. Miller’s daughter, Amanda Potter, said the plea deal provided little comfort to her family.
“I don’t know how to make sense of it,” Potter said. “My dad didn’t deserve this. It’s the most bizarre thing to ever happen to my family.”
Holland says there’s much more to the story, and he encouraged the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to continue investigating the leadup to Miller’s murder. Holland made allegations that Miller might also be a killer.
Holland said Miller’s wife, Chinese national Jing Me Zhu, disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 2018 or 2019 after being married to Miller for only a year.
“I was going to bring it up in court, but I’m not going to because of family members,” Holland told the Associated Press. “I hope that they’ll get closure.”
Las Vegas Murders
COVID-19 was good for at least something, and that was fewer murders in Southern Nevada. Las Vegas police said 96 people were murdered in 2020 — 48 fewer killings than in pre-pandemic 2019.
The pandemic’s easing in 2021, however, returned gruesome deaths across the Las Vegas Valley to new highs. The FBI in October said Las Vegas ranked seventh among the largest US cities in terms of homicides, with 152 murders in 2021.
The FBI estimated that there were between 21,300 and 24,600 murders in the US last year. Chicago counted more than 800 murders, the Windy City’s highest since 1994. Baltimore, Memphis, and Detroit each experienced more than 300 murders.
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