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Jury won’t buy ‘wrong person’ claim




A former Letcher County resident was convicted of drug trafficking after failing to convince a jury that police had arrested the wrong person.

James Holland, 31, was found guilty of second-degree trafficking after a two-day trial in Letcher Circuit Court.

Holland, who now lives on Sama Road in Burnside in Pulaski County, had turned down a plea offer that would have given him probation.

Police arrested Holland on May 22, 2007, for selling hydrocodone pills to an undercover UNITE detective on September 23, 2005. Hydrocodone is the generic name of pain pills sold under the brand names Lortab, Lorcet, and Vicodin.

During the trial, which began March 11, Holland’s attorney argued that someone else had made the sale that police had arrested the wrong person.

Although Holland had changed his appearance, Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Kevin R. Mullins presented evidence linking him with the crime.

Mullins showed that the vehicle used at the time of the sale was registered to Holland, that Holland had given the undercover detective directions to his home if he wanted to purchase more pills, and that Holland had stated he was behind on his child support payments – which was confirmed through court records.

Jury members recommended Holland receive the maximum penalty of five years in prison when he is formally sentenced by Letcher Circuit Judge Samuel T. Wright III on April 23.


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