Tuesday, August 10, 2010

MSP Melvin Paul Holbrook - Joni Holbrook sentenced for murder


Sergeant Melvin Paul Holbrook [Traverse City Record-Eagle]









Joni Holbrook








Joni Holbrook was in Benzie District Court Monday for a prelimiary hearing in the August 10, 2009 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin Paul Holbrook. [JAN-MICHAEL STUMP / Record-Eagle/Jan-Michael Stump]







See Also:
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2009/08/chad-dilts-holbrook-murder-case.html

http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2009/08/msp-sergeant-melvin-paul-holbrook.html

http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2009/08/in-memory-of-sergeant-melvin-paul.html

http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2009/08/sergeant-melvin-paul-holbrook-msp.html

http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/1987/07/starr-ann-holbrook-wife-of-melvin.html














Joni Holbrook sentenced in slaying
She will serve 6 to 15 years for shooting husband

BY ALEX PIAZZA The Record Eagle
Wed Aug 11, 2010, 07:30 AM EDT
http://record-eagle.com/local/x1189441656/Joni-Holbrook-sentenced-in-slaying




Joni Holbrook


BEULAH — Silence dominated a crowded Benzie County courtroom as a judge prepared to issue his verdict in a murder case that shocked many throughout the region.

Family and friends waited hours inside the courtroom Tuesday to find out how long Joni Holbrook, 48, of Beulah, would spend behind bars for killing her husband, state police Sgt. Melvin Paul Holbrook.

And with one brief statement, Benzie Circuit Judge James Batzer relieved that anticipation. Six to 15 years, he said.

Batzer sentenced Holbrook to prison exactly one year after she shot her husband in his bed with his service weapon. Melvin Holbrook was 53.

"I'm just relieved," said Ashley Dilts, Joni Holbrook's daughter, as she embraced family and friends outside the courtroom. "I think it's an appropriate sentence."

State police Lt. Bill Elliott, who knew Melvin Holbrook for about 20 years and worked with him at the Traverse City post, wanted a harsher sentence.

"It's just a very difficult situation," Elliott said. "I don't know what the right answer would have been, but I was surprised to hear how lenient the sentence was."

Joni Holbrook shot her husband multiple times as he slept in their Benzie County home, then called 911 and reported the incident. She pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder after agreeing to a last-minute plea deal the day before her jury trial was set to begin.

Joni Holbrook told Batzer when she entered her plea that she killed her husband because he subjected her to years of mental, physical and sexual abuse.

Batzer later told the Record-Eagle that Holbrook's attorneys had "considerable evidence" she had been sexually battered and abused, and he took that evidence into account for her sentence.

Joni Holbrook apologized to Melvin Holbrook's family at the sentencing.

"I am sorry that my actions have taken someone so special away from you," she said. "I don't look at myself as a killer. I look at myself as a survivor."

Jesse Williams, Joni Holbrook's attorney, called the slaying a matter of self-defense.

"The outcome was better than people expected," Williams said. "I didn't know what to expect. This court and this judge gave her a fair shake down."

Not everyone agreed. Meleen Froman, Melvin Holbrook's sister, drove from Oklahoma to Beulah to attend Tuesday's sentencing, but was not pleased with Batzer's decision.

"I just think it's a mockery," Froman said. "I just think it's sad. I'm a little angry now."

Batzer explained the plea deal to the courtroom audience prior to sentencing and tried to shed light on why a 15-year cap was placed on Joni Holbrook's sentencing.

"The law is an imperfect vehicle, but it's what we have," Batzer said. "I know this sentence is going to be unsatisfactory to parties aligned on both sides. There is nothing that this court can do ... that can make it satisfactory."

Debra Ankerson-Harrand, Joni Holbrook's sister, said she was relieved.

"We're pleased with that," Ankerson-Harrand said of the sentencing. "We all need to move on."

Joni Holbrook received credit for 276 days spent in the Benzie County Jail.

Melvin Holbrook spent 23 years with the state police and worked as a desk sergeant at the Traverse City post at the time of his death. He previously served at posts in Ionia, Coldwater, Manistee and Richmond.

Staff writer Art Bukowski contributed to this report.












Benzie Co. woman sentenced in husband's killing
by Lauren Amstutz
Posted: 08.10.2010 at 2:45 PM
Up North Live
http://www.upnorthlive.com/news/story.aspx?id=494837




BENZIE COUNTY -- A Benzie County woman who admitted to killing her Michigan State Police Sgt. husband will spend at least the next 5 years in prison.

Joni Holbrook was sentenced for the crime Tuesday. She will go to prison for a minimum of six years and a maximum of 15 years for shooting her husband, Melvin Holbrook to death last August. Joni Holbrook will get credit for 276 days she has already served behind bars.

A day before Holbrook's trial was set to begin, she pleaded guilty to second degree murder. Holbrook told the court she got out of bed went into the garage and got her husband's service weapon out of his vehicle. She then walked back into the bedroom and shot her husband three times. Holbrook told the court she was mentally, physically, and sexually abused and tortured by her husband for ten years.

Tuesday's sentencing took more than two hours because of testimony from both sides of the case.












Holbrook sentenced to 6 to 15 years
By ALEX PIAZZA
The Record Eagle
Tue Aug 10, 2010, 03:36 PM EDT
http://record-eagle.com/archive/x2018348171/Holbrook-sentenced-to-6-to-15-years

BEULAH — A Benzie County judge today sentenced Joni Holbrook to 6 to 15 years in prison for fatally shooting her husband — a state police sergeant — one year ago.

Joni Holbrook agreed to plead to second degree murder last month on the eve of her trial, with the understanding she’d be sentenced to no more than 15 years in prison for killing Melvin Paul Holbrook, 53, with his service revolver while he slept in the couple’s Benzie County home.

Melvin Holbrook was a sergeant at the Michigan State Police post in Traverse City.

Joni Holbrook’s attorneys and supporters portrayed her as an abused spouse.

Benzie Circuit Judge James M. Batzer called the law “an imperfect vehicle” when he sentenced her.

“There’s no answer to the pain of the decedent’s family in any sentence this court imposes,” he said.

Meleen Froman, Melvin Holbrook’s sister, traveled here from Oklahoma for the sentencing.

“I just think it’s a mockery,” she said.













Joni Holbrook Sentenced Details
IPR program(s): IPR News Features
Date: August 10, 2010
By Linda Stephan
http://ipr.interlochen.org/ipr-news-features/episode/9349

Joni Holbrook will serve at least six years in jail, and up to 15 years, for shooting her husband while he was sleeping. Holbrook was sentenced today in Benzie County court.

In a compromise deal, Holbrook pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Judge James Batzer said in court that his sentence reflected that deal, which he called, "rational."

But Batzer also said he believed Joni Holbrook had other means to leave her husband.
"This defendant had many opportunities to walk away, to get away, to stay away," he said.

The judge mentioned two marriage separations, and also hospitalizations for her own suicide attempts, when Holbrook could have fled the relationship.

The defense had argued that she was severely abused by her husband and victim, Michigan State Police Officer Melvin Paul Holbrook.













Holbrook pleads guilty to second-degree murder
Eric VanDussen
The Examiner
July 23, 2010
http://www.examiner.com/headline-in-traverse-city/holbrook-pleads-guilty-to-second-degree-murder




Joni Holbrook stands with her defense team as she enters her guilty plea on July 13 Credit: Eric L. VanDussen.


Joni Holbrook entered a guilty plea to second-degree murder and has admitted that she killed her husband. A last-minute plea deal was reached on the day before Holbrook was to stand trail. She was facing a mandatory life sentence if convicted of first-degree murder.

Holbrook made the following statement in open court on July 13:
“I married Sgt. Melvin Paul Holbrook with the hopes of a long, loving relationship. He quickly became very controlling, emotionally abusive, and later in the marriage, very sexually abusive. He manipulated and abused me excessively for 10 years. On the night of the incident, Aug. 10, 2009, I was completely worn down, torn down, and I couldn't take anymore. I snapped from all of the abuse, stress and duress he had put me under for the entire term of the marriage. I got out of bed where he was sleeping, sat on the couch in the living room for about 20 minutes with my head spinning out of control, and I went to the garage where his vehicle was parked; reached into the vehicle where he kept his Michigan State Police service revolver; returned to the house with the gun, and shot him in his sleep. I regret the decision that I have made, and I would take that moment back in time. I plead guilty today, and I'm ready to take my punishment as set by the court.”

Holbrook also acknowledged that she knew what she was doing when she killed her husband.

Benzie County Prosecutor John Daugherty approved a 15 year maximum sentencing cap for Holbrook. Circuit Judge James Batzer informed her that “the Court is not bound to follow the sentence recommendation agreed to by the prosecutor and if the Court chooses not to follow it you will be allowed to withdraw your plea.”

Holbrook’s attorney, Jesse Williams said that he doesn’t understand why it took Daugherty so long to offer a reasonable plea to his client. Daugherty filed several motions to preclude expert witness testimony at trail regarding Battered Woman Syndrome, but Batzer rebuffed his arguments each time. “She was a severely abused woman and she’ll receive the therapy she needs while serving her sentence,” said Williams.

A pre-sentencing report must be completed by the Circuit Court’s probation department before Holbrook is sentenced. Her sentencing is currently scheduled for August 10, which is exactly one year from the day that she killed her husband. She will be credited with approximately 10 months that she has already spent in custody.













Holbrook to remain in jail
She awaits sentencing for killing husband

July 15, 2010
Traverse City Record Eagle
BY ALEX PIAZZA apiazza@record-eagle.com
http://record-eagle.com/local/x378274214/Holbrook-to-remain-in-jail

BEULAH — Joni Holbrook likely will remain in a Benzie County Jail cell for another month as she awaits sentencing for killing her state police sergeant husband.

Officials will conduct a pre-sentence investigation before Benzie Circuit Judge James M. Batzer decides how many years Joni Holbrook, 48, will spend behind bars. A sentencing date has not been scheduled.

"They typically take four-to-six weeks, but if she doesn't have a prior criminal history that we have to go looking for in other states, it could be sooner," Batzer said.

Joni Holbrook pleaded guilty on Tuesday to second-degree murder after she agreed to a last-minute deal in the Aug. 10, 2009, shooting death of her husband, Melvin Paul Holbrook.

As part of the deal, Joni Holbrook will spend no more than 15 years in prison. The prosecutor's offer shocked Williams, who this week planned to try the case. Trial was set to begin Wednesday.

"I was surprised because we're dealing with a state trooper that was shot," he said. "I think that (prosecutors) realized that we were actually bringing a real defense to the table. All along, I was saying, 'If you give a reasonable plea to manslaughter, we'll consider it.' That's what this is."

Second-degree murder is punishable by up to life in prison, while those convicted of manslaughter spend up to 15 years in prison.

Benzie Prosecutor John B. Daugherty did not respond to calls for comment.

Joni Holbrook defended her actions as she entered her plea, and told Batzer that Melvin Holbrook mentally, physically and sexually abused her.

"I snapped from all of the abuse, stress and duress he had put me under for the entire term of the marriage," she said. "I regret the decision that I have made, and I would take that moment back in time."

Williams said his client will require extensive therapy.

"Obviously, when somebody lives through what she lived through, it's going to take the rest of her life to heal," he said. "She knows that she has a long road to recovery here. Now she can start focusing on recovery."

Michigan Department of Community Health representatives evaluate Joni Holbrook, among other inmates, each week to determine where she's placed in the Benzie County Jail. She remains in a female population cell, and has not exhibited suicidal tendencies since her arrest, Sheriff Rory Heckman said.













Holbrook pleads guilty to killing husband
She committed the act with spouse’s service revolver

By Don Reid
The Daily Reporter
Posted Jul 14, 2010 @ 02:53 PM
http://www.thedailyreporter.com/news/police_and_fire/x380560690/Holbrook-pleads-guilty-to-killing-husband

Beulah, Mich. — The wife of late Michigan State Police (MSP) Sgt. Melvin Paul Holbrook pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the Aug. 10, 2009 shooting death of her husband in Benzie Circuit Court Tuesday before trial was to begin.

Joni Holbrook told Judge James Batzer she shot her husband while he slept because he mentally, physically and sexually abused her for several years.

The 53-year-old Holbrook served 23 years with the MSP, starting his career in Coldwater in 1986, and also working at posts in Ionia, Manistee, Richmond and Traverse City, where he worked at the time of his death.

The night of the shooting Joni testified she got up sat on her sofa for over 20 minutes then went to his patrol car, where she got his service revolver and returned to the upstairs bedroom and she fired the fatal shot while he was asleep.

The complete story appears in the Thursday, July 15, 2010 edition and is available at coldwaterdailyreporter.mi.newsmemory.com.













Joni Holbrook Pleads Guilty
July 14, 2010
Interlochen Public Radio
By Peter Payette
http://ipr.interlochen.org/ipr-news-features/episode/9002

Joni Holbrook pleaded guilty Tuesday to murdering her husband, Melvin Paul Holbrook.

Holbrook was a state police officer and his wife confessed to shooting him three times with his own service revolver. He was in bed at their home in Benzie County when he was shot last August.

Joni Holbrook pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, with an agreement that she serve no more than ten years in prison.

"I regret the decision that I have made, and I would take that moment back in time. I plead guilty today and I'm ready to take my punishment, as set by the court," Holbrook read a prepared statement in court.

Judge James Batzer still must decide on a sentence.

Joni Holbrook's trial was set to begin today. Her lawyers had planned to use an unusual defense called, "battered wife syndrome." They were going to argue that Holbrook was regularly raped and even tortured by her husband, and that she had no other way to protect herself from future abuse.













Holbrook enters guilty plea
Joni: 'I ... returned to the house with the gun and shot him in his sleep'

July 14, 2010
Traverse City Record Eagle
BY ART BUKOWSKI and ALEX PIAZZA Staff writers

BEULAH — Tina Lehn thinks it's for the best that those tied to a Michigan State Police sergeant's slaying won't endure a long, drawn-out trial.

Lehn has known accused murderer Joni Holbrook since middle school and was relieved to hear she agreed Tuesday to an 11th-hour deal in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Melvin Paul Holbrook.

Holbrook pleaded guilty to a count of second-degree murder, and that means a trial expected to last three weeks won't be necessary. She told Benzie Circuit Court Judge James Batzer she shot her husband as he slept.

"I got out of bed where he was sleeping, sat on the couch in the living room for about 20 minutes with my head spinning out of control, and I went to the garage where his vehicle was parked; reached into the vehicle where he kept his Michigan State Police service revolver; returned to the house with the gun, and shot him in his sleep," she said.

Her plea likely is a relief to loved ones on both sides, Lehn said.

"I'm just glad the families don't have to go through a big long trial ... It's been a long road for both of them," she said. "Joni's parents, I can't even imagine what they're going through, let alone Paul's family."

Joni Holbrook initially did not give investigators a motive for the slaying, but during her plea said Melvin Holbrook mentally, physically and sexually abused her for several years.

Melvin Holbrook, 53, spent 23 years with the state police and worked as a desk sergeant at the Traverse City post at the time of his death. He previously served at posts in Ionia, Coldwater, Manistee and Richmond.

Holbrook's trial was set to begin this morning, but the deal was reached Tuesday afternoon. She'll be sentenced to no more than 15 years in prison, Holbrook attorney Jesse L. Williams said.

"To go from a life sentence to a 15-year cap, it's absolutely a win," Williams said, referring to the mandatory life sentence Holbrook would have faced if convicted of first-degree murder. "It's the safe choice for her. We feel that, considering the other outcome, this is a good resolution. She's glad that she's going to be able to have a second chance at life."

The Benzie County Sheriff's Department investigated the case. Sheriff Rory Heckman is pleased with Joni Holbrook's plea, but said the decision was unexpected.

"It came out of left field," Heckman said. "We never saw it coming."

State police Lt. Bill Elliott was Melvin Holbrook's longtime friend and former boss at the Traverse City post. He said a plea often spares family members stress and taxpayers a trial's financial burden.

"If Sheriff Rory Heckman and his people, along with the prosecutor, think that this is the best thing for this particular case, then I would be happy with that," he said.

Scott Rothermel, a former state police trooper who trained under Melvin Holbrook at the Traverse City post, said he's glad Joni Holbrook entered a plea.

"While her plea won't bring Paul back, I'm pleased she accepted responsibility for his murder," he said. "I hope she spends the full 15 years behind bars in prison."

The case captured the region's attention. Lehn and co-worker Tammie McLain, also a longtime friend of Joni Holbrook, remain puzzled by the entire incident.

They can't believe Joni Holbrook was able to commit such an act and wonder what made her do it.

"When I listen to the 911 tape, she sounded like she was ordering a pizza. She was so dispassionate," McLain said. "She had to have snapped."



Joni Holbrook, center, will be sentenced to no more than 15 years in prison, according to her lawyer, Jesse L. Williams. Eric VanDussen/Special to the Record-Eagle


EXCERPT FROM HOLBROOK'S STATEMENT
Excerpt from Joni Holbrook's statement Tuesday in Benzie Circuit Court:

"I married Sgt. Melvin Paul Holbrook with the hopes of a long, loving relationship.

He quickly became very controlling, emotionally abusive, and later in the marriage, very sexually abusive.

He manipulated and abused me excessively for 10 years.

On the night of the incident, Aug. 10, 2009, I was completely worn down, torn down, and I couldn't take anymore.

I snapped from all of the abuse, stress and duress he had put me under for the entire term of the marriage.

I got out of bed where he was sleeping, sat on the couch in the living room for about 20 minutes with my head spinning out of control, and I went to the garage where his vehicle was parked; reached into the vehicle where he kept his Michigan State Police service revolver; returned to the house with the gun, and shot him in his sleep.

I regret the decision that I have made, and I would take that moment back in time.

I plead guilty today, and I'm ready to take my punishment as set by the court."

Plea excerpt courtesy of Eric VanDussen.






Holbrook pleads in husband's slaying
July 13, 2010
Traverse City Record Eagle
ALEX PIAZZA apiazza@record-eagle.com
ART BUKOWSKI abukowski@record-eagle.com
http://record-eagle.com/latest/x378273258/Holbrook-pleads-in-husbands-slaying

BEULAH —Joni Holbrook pleaded guilty today to second-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband, a state police sergeant.

Holbrook's attorneys reached a last-minute plea deal with Benzie County prosecutors, a decision agreed upon a day before her murder trial was set to begin.

"It came out of left field," said Benzie Sheriff Rory Heckman. "We never saw it coming."

Benzie Circuit Judge James M. Batzer has yet to schedule a sentencing date, Heckman said.

Benzie County authorities last year charged Holbrook, 48, with an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, state police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook, who was stationed at the Traverse City post.

Authorities contend she shot her husband with his service weapon as he slept in their Benzie County home, then called 911 and reported the incident.













Joni Holbrook Pleads Guilty In Husbands Death
July 13, 2010. 4:36 PM
Up North Live
by Roxanne Werly

BENZIE CO. -- A Benzie County woman has Pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the death of her husband, State Police Sergeant Melvin Holbrook.

Joni Holbrook's murder trial was supposed to begin Wednesday in Benzie County.

Joni Holbrook read a statement to the court Tuesday afternoon that on August 10, 2009, she got out of bed, went into the garage and got her husbands service weapon out of his vehicle, walked back into the bedroom and shot Sgt. Holbrook three times.

She said it was dark and did not see where she was pointing the gun on his body.

She said she was about three feet away when she fired the three shots.

In the agreement with the Benzie County Prosecutor the sentencing cap was set at a maximum of 15 years in prison.

But under that agreement the judge said Tuesday the maximum sentence can actually only be two-thirds of the 15 years, so Holbrook is facing a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

No sentencing date has been set at this time.













Holbrook murder trial postponed again
July 9, 8:49 AM
Traverse City Headline Examiner
Eric VanDussen
http://www.examiner.com/x-43398-Traverse-City-Headline-Examiner~y2010m7d9-Holbrook-murder-trial-postponed-again


Joni Holbrook and her defense team listen as Judge Batzer issues his rulings on June 15. From left to right: James Amberg, Joni Holbrook, Jesse Williams and Dean Robb. Eric VanDussen.


Joni Holbrook’s murder trial has been postponed for an additional week so that potential jurors have enough time to return written questionnaires.

The forms were sent out late last week to approximately 250 Benzie County residents.

The process hit a roadblock when Prosecutor John Daugherty filed objections to some of the questions that Holbrook’s attorneys had proposed.

Circuit Judge James Batzer agreed to delay the trial when it became apparent that it was logistically impossible for the forms to be returned before jury selection on July 7.

Holbrook’s trial is now set to begin on July 14.

Batzer held another pretrial motion hearing on Tuesday, July 6, after Daugherty filed several last minute motions seeking once again to preclude the defense from calling expert witnesses to testify regarding Battered Woman Syndrome.

Holbrook’s attorneys contend that she suffers from the syndrome and acted in self-defense when she killed her husband, Michigan State Police Sergeant Melvin Paul Holbrook, in August of 2009.

Batzer has already ruled twice that Holbrook’s defense experts can explain the Battered Woman Syndrome to her jury. He also ordered that the expert witness fees will be paid with public funds. Although it’s highly unlikely that Batzer will reverse his previous findings, he had not yet ruled on Daugherty’s most recent motions prior to this week’s publication.

A June 15 hearing regarding Holbrook's Battered Woman Syndrome defense is currently being streamed below - or you can go to: http://www.upnorthmedia.org/watchupnorthtv.asp?SDBFid=2082













Holbrook's 911 call statements allowed
June 16, 2010
Traverse City Record Eagle
BY ART BUKOWSKI abukowski@record-eagle.com
http://record-eagle.com/local/x371478863/Holbrooks-911-call-statements-allowed

BEULAH — Accused murderer Joni Holbrook's statements to a 911 operator shortly after her Michigan State Police husband's gunshot death will be admitted during trial, a judge ruled.

Benzie Circuit Judge James M. Batzer heard and ruled on several crucial prosecution and defense motions Tuesday. Among other things, Batzer said he'd order state police to disclose certain records and permitted Holbrook's defense to have an expert testify about "battered spouse syndrome."

Joni Holbrook, 48, is charged with an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of state police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook, 53. Authorities believe she shot him with his service weapon as he slept inside the couple's Benzie County home.

Holbrook's trial is scheduled to begin July 7.

Defense attorney Jim Amberg moved to suppress a 911 tape in which Holbrook told a dispatcher she shot her husband. The dispatcher also spoke with Holbrook's son about the incident during the call, and Amberg argued the son's statements amount to hearsay.

Hearsay, statements made outside of court, generally aren't permitted in trials.

Batzer said Holbrook's statements would be admitted and told Amberg he'd decide before trial whether to admit the son's statements. He told Amberg to "be prepared" to play only the section of tape in which Joni Holbrook speaks.

The "heart" of Holbrook's defense is that she was sexually, physically and mentally abused by her husband throughout their marriage, Amberg said. He wants to bring in a witness to testify about battered spouse syndrome and other related conditions in an effort to build a self-defense case.

Batzer said he'd allow it, though the expert isn't allowed to testify on whether he or she believes Holbrook was abused.

Jesse Williams, another Holbrook attorney, said he's repeatedly tried to obtain records from state police about Melvin Holbrook's past. Those records will detail incidents in which he was shot at by a former wife and "stalked" a former state police co-worker, Williams contends.

But state police brass allegedly wouldn't provide documents, so Williams wanted Batzer to order them to do so.

Batzer said Williams is "not entitled to go on a fishing expedition" through Holbrook's personnel file to find things that might suit Joni Holbrook's defense, but agreed to sign an order for specific documents sought by Williams.

Williams also said Holbrook's former wife and co-worker are expected to testify during trial.

Melvin Holbrook was a 23-year state police veteran who served as a desk sergeant at the Traverse City post at the time of his death.

He previously served at posts in Manistee, Coldwater and elsewhere.






Holbrook's employment records sought
June 15, 2010
Traverse City Record Eagle
BY ALEX PIAZZA apiazza@record-eagle.com
http://record-eagle.com/local/x371478380/Holbrooks-employment-records-sought

BEULAH — Lawyers for a woman who shot her state police sergeant husband to death want prosecutors to release the victim's state employment records, documents they contend could assist in her defense.

Joni Holbrook, 48, faces an open count of murder in Melvin Holbrook's Aug. 10 death. Authorities contend she shot her husband with his service weapon as he slept in their Benzie County home, then called 911 and reported the incident.

Joni Holbrook did not give investigators a motive for the slaying, but her attorney said Melvin Holbrook mentally, physically and sexually abused her for several years.

That left her in a state of "learned helplessness," so her actions were justified under self-defense, said her attorney, Jesse L. Williams.

Williams believes Melvin Holbrook's personnel file could contain information to support that stance, and last week he filed an emergency motion to obtain those records. Benzie Prosecutor John B. Daugherty opposes the motion.

Williams contends the personnel records could shed light on an incident in which one of Melvin Holbrook's former wives attempted to shoot him while he was stationed at the state police post in Coldwater.

Benzie Circuit Judge James M. Batzer is expected to consider Williams' motion today.

"I don't know why the prosecutor would want to withhold this type of information," Williams said.

"I don't think (Daugherty) really is understanding that this person was abused and is a victim, and we're trying to uncover everything that happened here."

Daugherty asked Batzer to deny Williams' request. Daugherty said he doesn't have a copy of Holbrook's personnel file, but doubts it documents anything that could aid his killer.

"It is unlikely that ... personnel records show evidence of torture," Daugherty said in a response to Williams' motion.

He also said it is "equally speculative" for Joni Holbrook to suggest her husband's personnel file contains evidence of a conspiracy by state police to hide evidence of other crimes against her.

"Defendant is on a fishing expedition," Daugherty said. "(Joni Holbrook) must not be treated so differently just because her victim worked for the Michigan State Police. Defendant presents only accusation and speculation."

Melvin Holbrook, 53, spent 23 years with the state police, and worked as a desk sergeant at the Traverse City post at the time of his death. He previously served at posts in Ionia, Coldwater, Manistee and Richmond.

Joni Holbrook remains in the Benzie County Jail as she awaits trial.













HOLBROOK EXPERTS TO BE PAID FOR BY THE PUBLIC














Investigator for Joni Holbrook approved
Published: February 27, 2010 12:40 am
Traverse City Record-Eagle
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_058004107.html

BEULAH -- A judge will allow Joni Holbrook's defense attorney to hire a private investigator at public expense.

Benzie Circuit Judge James M. Batzer on Friday granted defense attorney Jesse Williams' motion to hire a private investigator to help interview witnesses.

He also granted Williams' motion to hire a psychiatric expert to determine whether his client suffers from battered spouse syndrome, and hire a computer technician to examine Melvin Holbrook's computer, also at public expense.

Batzer granted the motions contingent upon receiving an affidavit that shows Joni Holbrook is indigent.

Holbrook faces an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin Holbrook. Authorities believe Joni Holbrook shot her husband with his service weapon as he slept.

Williams previously told Batzer he wanted the investigator and experts to help him defend Holbrook.












Motion: Holbrook needs private investigator
Attorney also files motion to retain psychiatric expert

Published: February 24, 2010 07:45 am
Traverse City Record-Eagle
BY ALEX PIAZZA
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_055074645.html

BEULAH -- Joni Holbrook won't get a fair shake in the slaying of her husband unless a judge appoints a private investigator, her attorney said.

Holbrook faces an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin Holbrook. Authorities believe Joni Holbrook shot her husband with his service weapon as he slept.

Melvin Holbrook's former peers in the state police continue to assist in the investigation.

"I think it might be hard to find some non-biased interviews," said Joni Holbrook's attorney, Jesse L. Williams. "I think it would be helpful to have an unbiased person doing the interviews."

Benzie Circuit Judge James M. Batzer will decide Friday whether to appoint a private investigator at public expense.

Williams filed a separate motion to retain a psychiatric expert to determine whether his client suffers from battered spouse syndrome, which he contends is common among women who are physically and psychologically abused by their mates.

She didn't give investigators a motive, but Williams alleges Melvin Holbrook abused her. That's behind another motion he filed to have a computer technician take another look at Melvin Holbrook's computer, which authorities seized shortly after his death.

Williams contends the computer contains sexually explicit materials that "further illustrate the decedent's desire to hide his secret life of torture, rape, sodomy, extreme mental abuse and physical abuse."

Benzie County Prosecutor John B. Daugherty disagrees.

"(The) defendant has not set forth facts supporting her allegations ... " according to motion responses Daugherty filed. He did not return a call for comment.

Melvin Holbrook, 53, was a 23-year state police veteran who served as a desk sergeant at the Traverse City post at the time of his death. He previously served at posts in Manistee, Coldwater and elsewhere.

Holbrook's trial is scheduled to begin in April, but Williams expects that date to be pushed back.













Joni Holbrook sent back to jail
TRAVERSE CITY RECORD- EAGLE
JANUARY 13, 2009
BY ART BUKOWSKI
abukowski@record-eagle.com
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_013073035.html

BEULAH -- Joni Holbrook's family wept and embraced as a bailiff prepared to lead her from a Benzie County courtroom to a jail cell.

Holbrook, 48, is charged with an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook. She had been free on bond since October, but headed back to jail Tuesday after a brief hearing before Benzie Circuit Judge James M. Batzer.

Holbrook was bound over for trial in October after a preliminary examination.

District Judge Nancy Kida ruled Holbrook must stand trial on the murder charge, but she granted bond after her attorneys said Holbrook had a serious heart condition.
Batzer later ordered Holbrook's attorneys to provide a doctor's note as proof.

Holbrook attorney Jesse L. Williams gave Batzer notes from two medical doctors and a psychologist that said jail could aggravate Holbrook's medical conditions, but he acknowledged a "misdiagnosis" of her heart condition.

The alleged misdiagnosis is a game-changer, Batzer said.

"The premise of the district court's decision for admitting this defendant to bail was there was a representation of a heart condition which would require a number of medically invasive procedures. It turns out that, lo and behold, that simply is not the case," he said. "So the premise for the district court's decision ... has evaporated upon further medical investigation, apparently."

Williams said Holbrook suffers from stress and is "on the verge of suicide," though Batzer said jail isn't an easy place to be.

"This court is of the opinion that being in jail is stressful to almost everyone who's there," he said.

Williams said the jail isn't equipped to handle Holbrook's needs. Benzie County Sheriff Rory Heckman disagreed, citing her jail stay before bond was granted.

"She was lodged here for a very lengthy period of time, and we didn't have any issues," he said.

Authorities believe Holbrook shot her husband with his service weapon as he slept. She didn't give investigators a motive, though her attorneys allege Melvin Holbrook abused her.

Melvin Holbrook, 53, was a 23-year state police veteran who served as a desk sergeant at the Traverse City post at the time of his death. He previously served at posts in Manistee, Coldwater and elsewhere.

Holbrook's trial is scheduled for April.



















Holbrook to await trial in jail
Traverse City Record – Eagle
January 12, 2009 1:40 pm
http://www.record-eagle.com/breakingnews/local_story_012134104.html

BEULAH - Accused murderer Joni Holbrook is headed back to jail

Holbrook, 48, is charged with an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook. She spent about two months in jail, but was released on bond in October when her attorneys said she had a serious heart condition.

Benzie Circuit Judge James M. Batzer in a hearing held this morning ordered her back to jail as she awaits trial. Batzer previously ordered Holbrook's attorneys to provide a note from physicians detailing why she couldn't be jailed.

Holbrook attorney Jesse L. Williams said in today's hearing that Holbrook's heart conditions had been misdiagnosed. He provided notes from two medical doctors and a psychologist that said Holbrook's headaches and other medical conditions could worsen, thanks to stress from incarceration, but Batzer said jail normally is stressful for inmates.

Holbrook's trial is set for April.













Joni Holbrook Back Behind BarsThe Benzie County woman charged with killing her husband, State Police Sergeant Melvin Holbrook, is back in jail after her bond is revoked
By Roxanne Werly
Up North Live
Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 1:37 p.m.
http://www.upnorthlive.com/news/story.aspx?id=400532

BENZIE CO. -- A Benzie County woman charged with killing her husband is back behind bars tonight, after a judge revokes her bond.

Joni Holbrook will be tried for allegedly shooting her husband, State Police Sergeant Melvin Holbrook.

Holbrook was given bond initially because the defense alleged she had a medical condition that needed treatment. At a hearing Tuesday the judge ordered her back behind bars to await trial.

The final status hearing on the case is set for April, with a jury trial scheduled for April 14.












Top 10 stories: Look back at 2009
Traverse City Record-Eagle
Published: January 02, 2010 10:51 pm
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_002225023.html

No. 2: Michigan State Police sergeant killed
Benzie County resident Joni Holbrook picked up the phone in August and calmly told a 911 dispatcher she shot and killed her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook.

The months that followed featured squabbling attorneys, unflattering accusations about Melvin Holbrook's behavior and a motion that sprung Joni Holbrook from jail several weeks after she was charged with an open count of murder.

Authorities believe Holbrook, 48, shot her husband with his service weapon as he slept Aug. 10. She didn't give investigators a motive, though her attorneys allege Melvin Holbrook abused her.

Melvin Holbrook, 53, was a 23-year state police veteran who served as a desk sergeant at the Traverse City post at the time of his death. He previously served at posts in Coldwater, Ionia and elsewhere.

Joni Holbrook is free on bond as she awaits trial. Benzie District Judge Nancy Kida granted her bond after her attorneys said she had a serious heart condition, though Benzie Circuit Judge James Batzer ordered her to provide a note from a doctor explaining why she can't be incarcerated.

Her attorneys recently provided such documents, and Batzer is expected to make a ruling on the matter shortly.

The case was bound over to circuit court for trial after a preliminary examination in front of Kida wrapped in October. During the exam, a forensic pathologist said it's possible Melvin Holbrook was awake when he was shot, though there's no way of knowing for sure.

Police records show one of Melvin Holbrook's previous wives shot at him with his weapon during a 1987 incident in Coldwater. Starr Ann Holbrook wasn't charged with a crime after that incident, and Melvin Holbrook didn't request charges.













Week in Review: 1/3/2010
Traverse City Record-Eagle
Published: January 02, 2010 10:50 pm
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_002225040.html

BENZIE--Accused killer's freedom in question

BEULAH -- A Benzie County judge soon will decide whether accused murderer Joni Holbrook should remain free on bond as she awaits trial.

Holbrook is charged with an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook.

District Judge Nancy Kida granted Joni Holbrook bond several weeks after her arrest, but Circuit Judge James M. Batzer on Dec. 8 told her she needed to produce a doctor's note to remain free.

Kida granted bond because Holbrook's attorneys said she had a severe heart condition, but Batzer wanted a doctor's note as proof.

Her attorneys recently produced documents requested by Batzer, Benzie County Prosecutor J.B. Daugherty said. He wouldn't provide details.

A hearing is expected to be scheduled shortly. Batzer is expected to make a decision on Holbrook's bond then.

Holbrook attorney Jesse L. Williams said her defense team submitted letters from three professionals, including two medical doctors.

"Judge Batzer, in my opinion, has been very reasonable about this, and I'm hopeful he'll let her stay out," Williams said. "It's so important for her defense to have access to her; there's so much work to be done." Daugherty told Batzer Holbrook should be locked up because of the severity of the charge, though her attorneys questioned why he didn't initially challenge bond when Kida granted it in October.













Accused killers freedom in question
Judge will soon decide if Holbrook will remain free

Published: January 01, 2010 12:25 am
BY ART BUKOWSKI
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_001002810.html

BEULAH -- A Benzie County judge soon will decide whether accused murderer Joni Holbrook should remain free on bond as she awaits trial.

Holbrook is charged with an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook. District Judge Nancy Kida granted Joni Holbrook bond several weeks after her arrest, but Circuit Judge James M. Batzer on Dec. 8 told her she needed to produce a doctor's note to remain free.

Kida granted bond because Holbrook's attorneys said she had a severe heart condition, but Batzer wanted a doctor's note as proof.

Her attorneys recently produced documents requested by Batzer, Benzie County Prosecutor J.B. Daugherty said. He wouldn't provide details.

A hearing is expected to be scheduled shortly. Batzer is expected to make a decision on Holbrook's bond then.

Holbrook attorney Jesse L. Williams said her defense team submitted letters from three professionals, including two medical doctors.

"Judge Batzer, in my opinion, has been very reasonable about this, and I'm hopeful he'll let her stay out," Williams said. "It's so important for her defense to have access to her; there's so much work to be done."

Daugherty told Batzer Holbrook should be locked up because of the severity of the charge, though her attorneys questioned why he didn't initially challenge bond when Kida granted it in October.

Authorities believe Holbrook, 48, shot her husband with his service weapon as he slept in their home on Derby Lane. She allegedly called 911 and told a dispatcher she shot him.

Melvin Holbrook, 53, was a 23-year state police veteran who most recently served as a desk sergeant at the Traverse City post. He previously served at posts in Coldwater, Ionia, Manistee and Richmond.

Holbrook's trial is scheduled for April.










Judge: Get doctors note or go to jail
TRAVERSE CITY RECORD-EAGLE
Published: December 08, 2009 09:50 pm
BY ART BUKOWSKI
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_342215111.html

BEULAH -- A judge told accused murderer Joni Holbrook to provide a doctor's note if she wants to remain free on bond.

Holbrook, 47, is charged with an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook. Defense attorneys contend she has serious heart problems, so Benzie District Judge Nancy Kida granted bond and allowed her to live with her parents after her October preliminary examination.

Benzie Prosecutor John B. Daugherty recently filed a motion to have bond revoked, and Circuit Judge James M. Batzer on Tuesday gave Holbrook 21 days to submit a physician's note explaining why she can't be in jail.

"I'd like some kind of statement as to what the effect of being in jail as opposed to her present bond situation might be on her medical condition," he said.

Holbrook attorney Jesse L. Williams was "baffled" by Daugherty's motion. She hasn't violated bond conditions, he said, and Daugherty didn't object when bond initially was granted.

Batzer wasn't shocked by Daugherty's motion, he said, especially considering the charge.

"You're baffled, I'm not," he told Williams. "I'm unsurprised."

Police believe Holbrook shot her husband with his service weapon as he slept in the couple's Benzie County residence. She allegedly admitted to shooting him during a 911call.

Melvin Holbrook, 53, was a 23-year state police veteran who served as a desk sergeant at the Traverse City post. Police found his Sig Sauer .40 caliber handgun sitting on a kitchen counter when they responded to the 911 call.

In a separate motion, Williams asked Batzer to appoint a special investigator to help with the defense. Williams said he needs to help log evidence and interview numerous witnesses.

Some of the information Williams seeks to obtain pertains to Melvin Holbrook's alleged abusive tendencies, he said. Batzer denied the motion.

"You're going to have to relate that to a legal defense to a charge of murder, and you haven't done that," he told Williams.

Holbrook's trial is scheduled for April.













Michigan news briefs
Compiled from reports by Free Press news services
Posted: Dec. 6, 2009
http://www.freep.com/article/20091206/NEWS07/912060466/Michigan-news-briefs

BEULAH: Benzie prosecutor wants murder suspect in jail

Benzie County Prosecutor John Daugherty wants accused murderer Joni Holbrook in jail.

Holbrook, 47, is charged with murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin Holbrook. Joni Holbrook spent about two months in jail, but was released after Benzie District Judge Nancy Kida granted her bond on Oct. 12.

Daugherty asked a judge to revoke Holbrook's bond in a motion that's slated for a hearing Tuesday. He said he believes evidence against Holbrook is strong enough to keep her locked up while she awaits trial, as she admitted to shooting her husband in a 911 call.

Authorities found Melvin Holbrook dead of multiple gunshot wounds in a bed at his Benzie County residence. Investigators say they believe Joni Holbrook shot him with his service weapon as he slept.

Melvin Holbrook, 53, was a 23-year State Police veteran who worked at the Traverse City post.

Defense attorney Jesse Williams said Daugherty passed on his chance to challenge the bond at the October hearing.













Prosecutor wants Holbrook jailed now
TRAVERSE CITY RECORD-EAGLE
DECEMBER 04, 2009 07:35AM
BY ART BUKOWSKI
http://www.record-eagle.com/archivesearch/local_story_338073758.html

BEULAH -- Benzie County Prosecutor John B. Daugherty wants accused murderer Joni Holbrook back behind bars, but her attorney contends he missed his chance to challenge her release.

Holbrook, 47, is charged with an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook. She spent about two months in jail, but was released after Benzie District Judge Nancy Kida granted her a $300,000 (10 percent) bond on Oct. 12.

Daugherty asked a judge to revoke Holbrook's bond in a motion that's slated for a hearing on Tuesday. He believes evidence against Holbrook is strong enough to keep her locked up while she awaits trial, as she admitted to shooting her husband in a 911 call.

Authorities found Melvin Holbrook dead of multiple gunshot wounds in a bed at his Benzie County residence. Investigators believe Joni Holbrook shot him with his service weapon as he slept.

Holbrook, 53, was a 23-year state police veteran who worked at the Traverse City post.

Joni Holbrook's defense attorney Jesse L. Williams said he's "confused" by the prosecution's motion after Daugherty passed on his chance to challenge the bond at the October hearing.

"He could have objected at the time bond was issued, and he didn't do that," Williams said. "Short of her violating one of the conditions of her bond, I don't feel this motion was brought in good faith; I really don't."

A defense motion called Daugherty's move "frivolous."

"The People did not include any explanation as to why their position on the issue of bond has fundamentally changed and why they chose not to contest the granting of the bond until nearly two months after" it was granted.

Holbrook was bound over to circuit court after her October preliminary examination in front of Kida. Daugherty said he wants to put the bond issue before Circuit Judge James M. Batzer, though Batzer continued the bond set by Kida when he conducted Holbrook's arraignment.

Holbrook's trial is set to begin April 14.

Related Items:
- Holbrook released as she awaits trial
- Testimony: Holbrook may have been awake
- Probe reveals 1987 shooting
- Attorneys say spate of finger-pointing has passed
- Prosecutor accused of withholding
- New details of Holbrook shooting emerge
- Police remove computer from Holbrook home
- Editorial: Gag request rightly denied
- Judge denies gag order
- Prosecutor seeks gag order
- Affidavit details night of shooting
- Editorial: MSP shouldn't be involved
- Poll: Should MSP investigate Holbrook death?
- Lawyer: Joni Holbrook 'victim and survivor'
- State police join Holbrook investigation
- Sgt. Holbrook remembered at funeral
- Suspect's friends troubled by murder charge
- Questions build in trooper's death
- Wife charged in death of policeman
- Police sergeant killed in Benzie













Holbrook released as she awaits trial
She is charged with open count of murder in death of husband

Traverse City Record-Eagle
BY ART BUKOWSKI
Published: October 13, 2009 07:27 am
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_286072507.html

BEULAH -- Accused murderer Joni Holbrook will be released from jail and allowed to live with her parents as she awaits trial in the shooting death of her husband, a Michigan State Police sergeant.

Benzie District Judge Nancy Kida granted Holbrook a $30,000 bond upon completion of her preliminary examination Monday. The family hopes to post bond by the end of the week, defense attorney Jim Amberg said.

Holbrook, 47, is charged with an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, state police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook. Police believe she shot him as he slept in the couple's Benzie County residence.

Kida ruled there is enough evidence to send the case to trial after the two-day exam wrapped at about 3 p.m. It began Sept. 28, but was postponed until court scheduling allowed for a full day of testimony.

Defense attorney Jesse L. Williams said Holbrook had a heart blockage detected during an EKG last week and may soon need a stent. The Benzie County Jail isn't equipped to deal with her medical condition, Williams said.

Kida ordered Holbrook to wear an electronic tether equipped with GPS tracking. She's allowed to leave her parents' Grand Traverse County home only for medical appointments or court proceedings, Kida said.

Kida said she granted bond because Holbrook doesn't appear to be a danger to the public and doesn't have a criminal record.

A date for Holbrook's circuit court arraignment hadn't been set Monday.

Much of Monday's testimony came from Benzie County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Troy Lamerson, the lead investigator on the case, and Benzie 911 operator Nicole Smith.

Lamerson told Amberg during cross examination that he doesn't consider it a conflict of interest for state police to help with the sheriff's department investigation of the case, even if some state officers knew Melvin Holbrook personally.

Police reports indicate several state police officers were on scene, including Traverse City post commander Lt. Bill Elliott. Holbrook worked as a desk sergeant at the Traverse City Post.

Lamerson also said he ruled out Joni Holbrook's son as a suspect based largely on an interview another deputy conducted with the son the night of the incident. The son, Chad Dilts, 24, was asleep in the home and awoke to his mother yelling that she shot her husband, police reports indicate.

Investigators didn't take Dilts' fingerprints or test his body or clothes for gunshot residue, Lamerson said.

Related Items:
- Testimony: Holbrook may have been awake
- Probe reveals 1987 shooting
- Attorneys say spate of finger-pointing has passed
- Prosecutor accused of withholding
- New details of Holbrook shooting emerge
- Police remove computer from Holbrook home
- Editorial: Gag request rightly denied
- Judge denies gag order
- Prosecutor seeks gag order
- Affidavit details night of shooting
- Editorial: MSP shouldn't be involved
- Poll: Should MSP investigate Holbrook death?
- Lawyer: Joni Holbrook 'victim and survivor'
- State police join Holbrook investigation
- Sgt. Holbrook remembered at funeral
- Suspect's friends troubled by murder charge
- Questions build in trooper's death
- Wife charged in death of policeman
- Police sergeant killed in Benzie










Joni Holbrook was in Benzie District Court Monday for a preliminary hearing in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin Paul Holbrook. Jan-Michael Stump / Record-Eagle.










Testimony: Holbrook may have been awake
Forensic pathologist takes stand in murder case

Traverse City Record
Published: September 29, 2009 07:20 am
BY ART BUKOWSKI
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_272072122.html

BEULAH -- It's possible Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin Holbrook was awake when shot, a forensic pathologist testified.

Grand Rapids-based forensic pathologist Stephen Cohle was one of two witnesses to testify Monday in Joni Holbrook's preliminary examination. Holbrook is charged with an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Melvin Holbrook.

A preliminary examination is held to determine if there is enough evidence to send a case to trial. It is scheduled to resume Oct. 12 in front of Benzie District Judge Nancy Kida.

Investigators believe Joni Holbrook shot her husband with his state police-issued pistol in a bedroom of the couple's Benzie County residence. She allegedly told police she shot him as he slept, and examiners removed three bullets during an autopsy.

Cohle, who conducted the autopsy, provided details about the gunshot wounds. One bullet entered the back of Holbrook's head and lodged at the base of his skull, and another went through his jaw and into his shoulder.

Holbrook had what appeared to be entry and exit wounds near his right elbow and another on the right side of his chest, and Cohle believes one bullet struck him near his elbow and continued through his arm into his chest.

Under cross-examination from Holbrook defense attorney Jim Amberg, Cohle said it's possible Holbrook was holding his right arm up in a "defensive posture" when that shot was fired.

But it's also possible Holbrook slept on his side with his arm exposed, Cohle said, and there's no way of knowing if he was asleep. Cohle said at least two of the shots likely were fired within four feet of Holbrook, based on gunpowder residue and soot.

Benzie Sheriff's Department deputy Mark Ketz, who responded to the scene, also testified. Ketz said he found an empty pistol holster inside a car in the home's attached garage during a search of the residence.

Ketz found Holbrook's Sig Sauer .40 caliber handgun on a kitchen counter.

Ketz also interviewed Holbrook's first wife, Starr Mangold. Ketz said she described Melvin Holbrook as a "controlling" and "manipulative" person who had an interest in "strange" sexual behaviors, including bondage.

Joni Holbrook's attorneys previously said she was subject to "physical, mental and sexual abuse" from her husband during their marriage, though she told a 911 dispatcher she wasn't fighting or arguing with her husband at the time of the shooting.
















Benzie County Woman Goes To Court Today in Murder Case
9 & 10 NEWS
Posted: 9/28/2009
http://www.9and10news.com/category/story/?id=173412

New details are starting to emerge in the murder case against a woman accused of killing her Police Sergeant husband.

Joni Holbrook was back in court today for the first day of her preliminary examination. The prelim is to decide if there's enough evidence to take the case to trial.

The prosecution says Joni shot and killed her husband, Sgt. Melvin Holbrook, while he was sleeping in their Benzie County home. Sgt. Holbrook was a Desk Sergeant with the Michigan State Police post in Traverse City.

Today, a forensic pathologist testified. He says he isn't certain Holbrook was actually sleeping during the shooting. A deputy also testified during cross examination. He said he found evidence that shows Sgt. Holbrook was controlling, manipulative, and abusive among other things.

The preliminary exam continues on October 12th.

9 and 10's Ryan Raiche was in the courtroom today, he was a wrap up.












Woman who reportedly shot former Coldwater MSP trooper faces preliminary exam today
By Don Reid
The Daily Reporter
Sun Sep 27, 2009, 09:19 PM EDT
http://www.thedailyreporter.com/news/x576524985/Woman-who-reportedly-shot-former-Coldwater-MSP-trooper-faces-preliminary-exam-today

Traverse City - Defense attorneys for Joni Holbrook, the wife of former Coldwater Michigan State Police (MSP) Trooper Sgt. Melvin Holbrook, who is charged with his Aug. 10 murder, want further information about circumstances of a 1987 Branch County shooting.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reported Saturday a retired former fellow trooper told investigators then wife Starr Ann Holbrook shot at him with a MSP-issued gun on July 23, 1987 at their Coldwater area home. She missed.

Last month, current wife Joni, called police to tell then she killed Melvin in their Benzie County home while he slept in just after 1 a.m. Aug. 10.

The complete story appears in the Monday, Sept. 28 edition and is available at coldwaterdailyreporter.mi.newsmemory.com.






New Details On Murder Investigation
There is new information into the shooting death of a Michigan State Police Sergeant
.

Up North Live
By Roxanne Werly
Friday, September 25, 2009 at 2:42 p.m.
http://www.upnorthlive.com/news/story.aspx?id=355050

BENZIE CO. -- The incident report obtained by 7 & 4 news reveals Michigan Police Sergeant Melvin Holbrook's ex-wife shot at him twice in 1987.

No one was hurt in the 1987 shooting and according to the report the sergeant did not want to press charges. The couple divorced in 1992 and Holbrook remarried in 1999.

In August Sergeant Holbrook was shot and killed at his Benzie County home.

Joni Holbrook has admitted to shooting and killing her husband, and she is currently being held in the Benzie County Jail on an Open Murder Charge.

Joni Holbrook's attorney Jesse Williams says this is not a coincidence. He says he's concerned why charges weren't filed when the first shooting took place and concerned with the lack of an investigation. Williams says had it been investigated properly his client, Joni Holbrook, would not be in the situation that she is in today.

The prosecuting attorney declined to comment.

Joni Holbrook is due back in court on Monday.













Holbrook probe reveals 1987 shooting
Police seargent's then-wife allegedly shot at him twice

Traverse City Record
Published: September 25, 2009 07:35 am
BY ART BUKOWSKI
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_268073549.html

TRAVERSE CITY -- In July 1987, the then-wife of Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin Holbrook turned his service weapon on him and fired two shots, an incident that preceded by two decades Holbrook's shooting death, allegedly by another wife.

Details of the 1987 shooting in Branch County emerged from police interviews and document searches during a probe of Joni Holbrook, who's accused of shooting Melvin Holbrook to death as he slept early Aug. 10. Melvin Holbrook was assigned to the Traverse City post at the time of his death.

His wife is being held in the Benzie County Jail on an open count of murder. Police believe she shot him with his service weapon in the couple's home in Benzie's Homestead Township.

Holbrook's preliminary examination, held to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to trial, is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday.

Melvin Holbrook was not injured in the 1987 incident, and his then-wife, Starr Ann Holbrook, was not charged with a crime. Police investigating Holbrook's death contacted several former staffers at the state police post in Coldwater, where Holbrook, 53, served after graduating from police recruit school in 1986.

Retired troopers told of a July 23, 1987, incident in which Starr Ann Holbrook shot at him with a state police-issued gun as he arrived home from work. The couple was separated at the time, reports indicate, and Starr was at his Coldwater residence.

Melvin Holbrook arrived home shortly before 11 p.m., according to a supplement he filed with the original 1987 police report. As he was in the driveway emerging from his car, he saw his wife step outside with his service revolver.

She shot and hit the driveway seconds after he got back in his car and backed up, according to the report.

"The bullet from the handgun would have hit either the vehicle or me if I had not started backing from the driveway," Holbrook wrote.

She fired a second time as he drove away and headed back to the post to report the incident. He didn't request criminal charges, according to the report, and Branch County records don't show any charges.

Starr Holbrook recently acknowledged to a Benzie County Sheriff's investigator that she was involved in the incident, reports obtained by the Record-Eagle show.
Reports do not indicate a clear motive for the shooting, though Melvin Holbrook wrote that he recently had informed Starr he intended to divorce her.

A retired trooper told investigators "it was clear from statements made by (Melvin) Holbrook that his wife had become upset upon finding out" he had been dating another state police trooper.












Peace is pledged in Holbrook murder case
Attorneys say spate of finger-pointing has passed

TRAVERSE CITY RECORD-EAGLE
SEPTEMBER 18, 2009
BY ART BUKOWSKI
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_261073729.html

BEULAH -- Attorneys on both sides of the Joni Holbrook murder case pledge peace after a spate of finger-pointing and heated rhetoric.

Benzie Prosecutor John B. Daugherty on Wednesday issued a press release that criticized Holbrook defense attorney Jesse L. Williams. His brief statement said Williams had "his facts wrong" when he publicly accused Daugherty this week of withholding crucial investigatory documents from Holbrook's defense team.

Everything Daugherty's office receives is "promptly provided" to the defense for discovery purposes, the statement said.

But Williams said he discovered Wednesday that a staffer in Daugherty's office who was instructed to copy and provide documents to him wasn't doing it. Daugherty didn't deny the allegation.

"That could have been it," Daugherty said Thursday. "She's on vacation this week, I haven't had a chance to talk with her about it. If there was a shortfall, I apologize ... we're not trying to sandbag them or anything."

Holbrook, 47, is held on an open count of murder in the shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook. Police believe she shot him with his service weapon as he slept in the couple's Benzie County residence Aug. 10.

Williams said he doesn't believe the oversight was deliberate, though he was upset by Daugherty's statement to area media.

"If it was inaccurate, I apologize," Daugherty said.

Despite the tit-for-tat this week, both Williams and Daugherty said they expect the case to continue without problems.

"I think Jesse Williams and I get along pretty well, and we have in the past," Daugherty said. "I expect that to continue."

Williams said he believes he now has most of the documents he needs, though he's still concerned about state police involvement in the case. He previously said the agency's investigative role represents a conflict of interest. "I don't know how many state troopers there are on this case and who they're interviewing ... I'm sort of in the dark on what they're doing," Williams said.

Holbrook's preliminary examination, held to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to trial, is scheduled for Sept. 28.













Holbrook prosecutor accused of withholding
Traverse City Record-Eagle
September 15, 2009 07:10 am
BY BRIAN McGILLIVARY
September 15, 2009 07:10 am
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_258071031.html

TRAVERSE CITY -- Attorneys for murder suspect Joni Holbrook accused the Benzie County prosecutor of withholding investigative information that could benefit their client.

Holbrook, 47, is jailed without bond on an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin Paul Holbrook, of the Traverse City post. Investigators believe she shot him at around 1 a.m. as he slept in the couple's residence on Derby Lane near Benzonia.

Defense attorney Jesse Williams said Holbrook endured years of "physical, mental and sexual abuse" from her husband during their marriage, and on Monday charged that county Prosecutor John Daugherty has withheld facts and evidence substantiating the alleged abuse.

Williams also said Daugherty is "leaking" information to the media to help his case while withholding details that are beneficial to Joni Holbrook.

"This isn't professional and the way it's being handled is making a mockery of the criminal justice system," Williams said.

Daugherty previously sought a gag order to prevent Joni Holbrook's attorneys from speaking to the media about the case, which was denied by a judge in Benzie County. Daugherty then released detailed information about the investigation in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Daugherty declined to speak to the Record-Eagle on Monday.

Williams said Daugherty has yet to provide him that same information, despite asking for it more than a month ago.

"I've received more information from the media than I have from the prosecutor," Williams said. "He's not following the rules of justice and it's not fair to my client."

Attorney Dean Robb, of Suttons Bay, who is assisting with Joni Holbrook's defense, said the defense team is also concerned about the state police's continued involvement in the investigation.

Williams said state police have interviewed three people that he knows of regarding the abuse allegations, but he hasn't received the results of those interviews.

Williams anticipates he'll have to file a court motion requiring Daugherty to provide him the complete results of the investigation. But for now his top priority is to get Holbrook freed on bond and prepare for a preliminary hearing set for Sept. 28.

"We have a lot of unanswered questions and this (hearing) will give us an opportunity to get some of these people on the stand ... and get some answers," Williams said.













Week in Review: 09/13/2009
New details of Holbrook shooting emerge
Traverse City Record Eagle
September 12, 2009 08:55 pm
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_255205540.html

BEULAH -- Accused killer Joni Holbrook's son awoke to his mother "yelling at the top of her lungs" that she shot her husband, police reports state.

Holbrook, 47, is held on an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin Holbrook, of the Traverse City post. Investigators believe she shot him at about 1 a.m. as he slept in the couple's residence on Derby Lane near Benzonia.

Joni Holbrook's son, Chad C. Dilts, 24, told police he was asleep in an upstairs bedroom when he awoke to his mother calling his name and yelling, "I shot him, I killed him, he's dead," according to police reports obtained under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

Dilts headed downstairs and saw his mother in the kitchen. Holbrook's service weapon, a Sig Sauer .40 caliber handgun, sat on a kitchen counter next to the sink. Dilts peered into Melvin Holbrook's downstairs bedroom and saw him face down on the bed.

Joni Holbrook called 911 to report the incident and allegedly told dispatcher Nicole Smith she shot Holbrook. Smith asked to speak with Dilts after Holbrook said he was in the residence.

Smith briefly spoke with Dilts while his mother sat on a couch, according to a transcript of the 911 call. Smith told Dilts to get in his truck, drive down to nearby Zimmerman Road and wait in the vehicle until police officers could arrive on scene.













New details of Holbrook shooting emerge
Traverse City Record-Eagle
By ART BUKOWSKI
September 11, 2009 07:41 am
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_254073128.html

BEULAH -- Accused killer Joni Holbrook's son awoke to his mother "yelling at the top of her lungs" that she shot her husband, police reports state.

Holbrook, 47, is held on an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin Holbrook, of the Traverse City post.

Investigators believe she shot him at about 1 a.m. as he slept in the couple's residence on Derby Lane near Benzonia.

Joni Holbrook's son, Chad C. Dilts, 24, told police he was asleep in an upstairs bedroom when he awoke to his mother calling his name and yelling, "I shot him, I killed him, he's dead," according to police reports obtained under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

Dilts headed downstairs and saw his mother in the kitchen. Holbrook's service weapon, a Sig Sauer .40 caliber handgun, sat on a kitchen counter next to the sink.

Dilts peered into Melvin Holbrook's downstairs bedroom and saw him face down on the bed.

Joni Holbrook called 911 to report the incident and allegedly told dispatcher Nicole Smith she shot Holbrook. Smith asked to speak with Dilts after Holbrook said he was in the residence.

Smith briefly spoke with Dilts while his mother sat on a couch, according to a transcript of the 911 call. Smith told Dilts to get in his truck, drive down to nearby Zimmerman Road and wait in the vehicle until police officers could arrive on scene.

Dilts left and was met by a Benzie County sheriff's deputy near the home. Smith, back on the phone with Holbrook, told Holbrook to exit the house and have her hands in the air when officers arrived.

Smith, who has worked as a Benzie dispatcher for a combined eight years, received a letter of commendation for the "appropriate and efficient," manner in which she handled the call, Benzie Undersheriff Bill Sholten said.

Investigators interviewed Holbrook at the Benzie County Sheriff's Department. A sergeant asked her if she needed any marks or injuries documented, and she allegedly replied "he is too smart to leave any marks."

Holbrook's attorney, Jesse L. Williams, previously said Holbrook was subject to "physical, mental and sexual abuse" from her husband during their marriage. She told Smith she wasn't fighting or arguing with her husband at the time of the shooting.

Dilts could not be reached for comment.

Special writer Eric VanDussen contributed to this report.












Police remove computer from Holbrook home
Traverse City Record-Eagle
BY ART BUKOWSKI
September 11, 2009 07:40 am
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_254073133.html

BEULAH -- Investigators removed a computer from Joni Holbrook's home to search for "forethought of doing harm" to her husband, according to search warrant documents.

Police also removed three .40 caliber cartridge cases from the bedroom where they found Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin Holbrook, 53, dead from gunshot wounds.

Investigators believe Joni Holbrook shot her husband with his service weapon, a Sig
Sauer .40 caliber handgun, as he slept.

The pistol had nine remaining bullets in its magazine and one in the chamber, reports indicate. It was recovered from the kitchen counter of the home on Derby Lane near Benzonia.

Investigators found Melvin Holbrook face down on his bed with both arms folded under his chest.

Bullets were removed from his shoulder, chest and the base of his skull during an autopsy at a Grand Rapids hospital.

Holbrook, a 23-year state police veteran, worked as a desk sergeant at the Traverse City post. He previously served at posts in Richmond, Ionia, Manistee and Coldwater.

Joni Holbrook, who married Melvin in 1998, remains in custody without bond on an open count of murder. A preliminary examination, held to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to trial, is scheduled for Sept. 28.

Melvin Holbrook filed for divorce in 2008, though the couple agreed to reconcile and the proceedings were dismissed, records show. A "close family friend" told police Melvin agreed to take Joni back provided she get a job and "get straightened out with her doctors/medications," according to police reports.

Joni Holbrook worked for 86th District Court as a clerk from 1991 until 1999. She suffers from debilitating migraines and had trouble working since leaving the court, her friends said.

The computer is set to be examined by Grand Traverse sheriff's Det. Todd Heller, the region's computer forensic examination specialist.













Judge denies gag order in Holbrook case
Traverse City Record
Published: August 28, 2009 07:10 am
BY ART BUKOWSKI
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_240071206.html

BEULAH -- Attorneys for murder suspect Joni K. Holbrook can continue to speak publicly about the case, a judge ruled.

Benzie District Judge Nancy Kida on Thursday denied Prosecutor John B. Daugherty's motion to stop Holbrook's attorneys from speaking to the media about the case, rejecting Daugherty's allegations that they were "endangering the fair trial right of the People."

Holbrook, 47, is held on an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook. Police believe she shot Holbrook, 53, with his service revolver as he slept inside the couple's Benzie County home.

Holbrook's defense team -- Jesse Williams, of Traverse City, Jim Amberg, of Oakland County, and Dean Robb, of Suttons Bay -- fought the motion in a short hearing before Kida ruled.



Defense attorney Jim Amberg, left, argues against a gag order sought by prosecutors in the case of Joni Holbrook, accused of her husbands death. To the right of Holbrook are defense attorneys Jesse Williams and Dean Robb. Eric VanDussen/Special to the Record-Eagle.


Amberg argued a gag order would hamper Joni Holbrook's "fundamental right" of free speech.

"She has a right to free speech, and not only does she have a right to free speech, but Mr. Williams does, as well as myself," he told Kida.

Williams called Joni Holbrook a victim of physical, mental and sexual abuse at an Aug. 18 press conference in Traverse City, though he wouldn't provide details when pressed by reporters.

"The statements that were made by Mr. Williams were not specific, factual statements, they were general statements," Amberg said, adding that police and Daugherty have repeatedly spoken with reporters about the case.

"To accuse Mr. Williams' statements of (being improper) when the people have put out all sorts of statements right after this happened without doing any type of investigation, I find that akin to the pot calling the kettle black," Amberg said.

Daugherty was "disappointed" by Kida's ruling.

"I don't necessarily agree with it, but we'll carry forth," he said.

Joni Holbrook called 911 at around 1 a.m. Aug. 10 and said she shot her husband, authorities said. Police responded to the couple's Benzie County residence soon after and found Melvin Holbrook dead in a bedroom from apparent gunshot wounds.

Melvin Holbrook, a 23-year veteran of the state police, served as desk sergeant at the Traverse City post since 2002.

Joni Holbrook continues to be held at the Benzie County Jail without bond. Williams asked that a bond be set because Holbrook is suffering from strokes and needs medical attention, but Kida turned down the request.

A preliminary examination, held to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to trial, is scheduled for Sept. 28.
Related Items:
- Prosecutor seeks gag order
- Affidavit details night of shooting
- Editorial: MSP shouldn't be involved
- Poll: Should MSP investigate Holbrook death?
- Lawyer: Joni Holbrook 'victim and survivor'
- State police join Holbrook investigation
- Sgt. Holbrook remembered at funeral
- Suspect's friends troubled by murder charge
- Questions build in trooper's death
- Wife charged in death of policeman
- Police sergeant killed in Benzie













No Gag Order In Benzie Murder Case
08/27/2009
Interlochen Public Radio
http://ipr.interlochen.org/print/3960

A judge in Benzie County has refused to gag the defense in a high profile murder case. The prosecutor says publicity of the case will make it hard for Joni Holbrook to get a fair trial. She's accused of murdering her husband, Melvin Holbrook, a state police officer.

The prosecutor, John Daugherty, wanted Holbrook's attorney to be restricted in his comments to the press. Jesse Williams is arguing Holbrook was abused by her husband. He held a press conference earlier this month.

The judge told the prosecutor to file an attorney grievance if he thinks Williams acted improperly.













Prosecutor seeks gag order in Holbrook case
Joni Holbrook is accused in husband's death

Traverse City Record Eagle
Published: August 26, 2009 07:15 am
BY ART BUKOWSKI
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_238071625.html

BEULAH -- The Benzie County prosecutor wants a judge to prevent murder suspect Joni Holbrook's attorney from making public comments about the case.

District Judge Nancy Kida on Thursday is expected to hear Prosecutor John B. Daugherty's motion to prevent parties in the case from making public statements outside of court. The motion is scheduled for 10:45 a.m.

Holbrook, 47, is held on an open count of murder in the Aug. 10 shooting death of her husband, Michigan State Police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook. Police believe she shot Melvin Holbrook, 53, with his service revolver as he slept inside the couple's Benzie County home.

Daugherty's motion contends the case continues to attract "intense interest" from the media. Statements made by Holbrook's attorney, Jesse L. Williams, are "endangering the fair trial right of the People by his statements to print and television media."

"The People are concerned that the extensive ... public comment will disrupt the processes by which a fair trial may be preserved," the motion reads.

Williams held a press conference Aug. 18. He called Joni Holbrook the victim of abuse, but didn't provide details or discuss her defense.

Williams plans to fight the motion at Thursday's hearing. Police and Daugherty also spoke with reporters about the case, he said.

"I find it peculiar that they would make statements about the case before they even did any type of investigation ... they got their little jabs in and now they don't want anybody else to know what's going on," he said.

The motion wouldn't prevent Williams from speaking with reporters, Daugherty said, but it would restrict him from providing further facts about the case. Daugherty contends the motion is crucial to Holbrook's right to a fair trial.

"If there's so much publicity on the matter, it makes it more difficult to select a jury that is impartial and hasn't been tainted by various statements along the way," he told a Record-Eagle reporter.

Holbrook's preliminary examination, held to determine if there is enough evidence to send a case to trial, is set for Sept. 28.

Related Items:
- Affidavit details night of shooting
- Editorial: MSP shouldn't be involved
- Poll: Should MSP investigate Holbrook death?
- Lawyer: Joni Holbrook 'victim and survivor'
- State police join Holbrook investigation
- Sgt. Holbrook remembered at funeral
- Suspect's friends troubled by murder charge
- Questions build in trooper's death
- Wife charged in death of policeman
- Police sergeant killed in Benzie







On August 10, 2009 Joni Holbrook shot her husband…





…Sergeant Melvin Holbrook [Traverse City MSP]...









…with his department-issued .40-caliber Sig Sauer handgun as he slept.








In her call to 911, Joni stated, “I just killed him”. In that same 911 call, Joni referred to Sergeant Holbrook as “a controlling bastard”.








And now, Joni Holbrook claims that she is both a victim and a survivor of domestic violence???









How can Joni Holbrook be the victim and survivor of domestic violence, when Melvin Paul Holbrook is dead because of Joni’s ultimate act of domestic violence?






Affidavit details night of shooting
Published: August 21, 2009 10:40 pm
BY ART BUKOWSKI
http://www.record-eagle.com/local/local_story_233224015.html

BEULAH -- A Benzie County woman accused of fatally shooting her husband -- a Michigan State Police sergeant -- referred to him as a "controlling bastard" in a call to a 911 dispatcher, but said the two weren't fighting or arguing when the shots were fired.

"I just killed him," suspect Joni Holbrook allegedly told Benzie County 911 dispatcher Nicole Smith shortly after 1 a.m. on Aug. 10, according to an affidavit filed with the district court by Benzie sheriff's deputy Mark Ketz.

Holbrook allegedly shot state police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook, 53, with his department-issued .40-caliber Sig Sauer handgun as he slept in the couple's 10877 Derby Lane residence near Beulah.

Melvin Holbrook was assigned to the state police Traverse City post, where he worked as a desk sergeant.

Benzie deputies allegedly arrived at the shooting scene to find Joni Holbrook standing on the front porch with her hands in the air. Holbrook's service weapon was recovered from a kitchen counter, Ketz's affidavit said.

Joni Holbrook told deputies at the scene she shot her husband as he slept, according to the affidavit. Ketz went into the master bedroom and found Melvin Holbrook dead with an apparent gunshot wound to the head.

Joni Holbrook is charged with an open count of murder and is being held in the Benzie County Jail. Her attorney and neighbors contend she had been the victim of domestic abuse, but Joni Holbrook bore no obvious signs of physical trauma upon her arraignment.

Benzie Prosecutor John B. Daugherty didn't return a call for comment. Holbrook's attorney, Jesse L. Williams, doesn't believe the 911 recording "even insinuates premeditation," he said.

"We are not surprised or concerned about the statements made in the 911 recording," he said.

A preliminary examination is pending to determine whether enough evidence exists to bind over the case to circuit court for trial.






Wife allegedly used police weapon
TRAVERSE CITY RECORD-EAGLE
Published: August 21, 2009 11:12 am
BY ART BUKOWSKI
http://www.record-eagle.com/breakingnews/local_story_233110609.html

BEULAH — A Benzie County woman accused of fatally shooting her husband — a Michigan State Police sergeant — referred to him as a "controlling bastard" in a call to a 911 dispatcher, but said the two weren't fighting or arguing when the shots were fired.

"I just killed him," suspect Joni Holbrook allegedly told Benzie County 911 dispatcher Nicole Smith shortly after 1 a.m. on Aug. 10, according to an affidavit filed with the district court by Benzie sheriff's deputy Mark Ketz.

Holbrook allegedly shot state police Sgt. Melvin P. Holbrook, 53, with his department-issued .40-caliber Sig Sauer handgun as he slept in the couple's 10877 Derby Lane residence near Beulah.

Melvin Holbrook was assigned to the state police Traverse City post.

Benzie deputies allegedly arrived at the shooting scene to find Joni Holbrook standing on the front porch with her hands in the air. Holbrook's service weapon was recovered from a kitchen counter, Ketz's affidavit said.

Joni Holbrook is charged with an open count of murder and is being held in the Benzie County Jail. Her attorney and neighbors contend she had been the victim of domestic abuse, but Joni Holbrook bore no obvious signs of physical trauma upon her arraignment.

A preliminary examination is pending to determine whether enough evidence exists to bind over the case to circuit court for trial.



Michigan Officer Involved Domestic Violence

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am very sad to hear about Joni. I know (based on my personal experiences with Sgt. Holbrook) that she did what she had to. I remember helping her move out of their home with her daughter only for him to threaten me and her to go back to him in 04. I hope she gets the proper therapy while she is is imprisoned. Just reading this a couple years later shocks me and I will put her in my prayers....
-Shawn