Pry bar, knife used in socialite murder

November 9, 2010 3:35:12 PM PST
A San Francisco man suspected of posing as a utility worker to gain entrance to a Russian Hill woman's apartment and then beating and stabbing her to death last month appeared in court this morning on murder charges.

Gary Scott Holland, 43, was arrested Friday in connection with the killing of 46-year-old publicist Kathleen Horan on Oct. 29.

Police found Horan's body inside her second-floor apartment at 900 Chestnut St. early the morning of Oct. 30. Investigators believe she was killed at about 7 p.m. the previous evening.

Holland, who is charged with murder, attempted rape, robbery and burglary, did not enter a plea during this morning's brief hearing in San Francisco Superior Court.

Arraignment was postponed until Friday as Holland awaits the appointment of an attorney from the public defender's office.

According to prosecutors, Horan was beaten with a pry bar, a construction tool similar to a small crowbar, and stabbed with a knife.

Police said Holland, who was dressed as a utility worker, with a hard hat, utility vest, belt and tool box, somehow gained access to the apartment building and knocked on Horan's door, telling her he needed to check for a gas leak.

Police detained Holland Friday morning in the Outer Richmond neighborhood, when officers found him lying in some bushes at Sutro Heights Park.

Homicide inspectors later arrested him.

Holland is charged with one count of murder with the use of a deadly weapon, one count of attempted rape, one count of residential robbery and two counts of residential burglary.

Attached to the murder charge are special-circumstance allegations that would make Holland eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

At a news conference announcing the charges Monday, District Attorney Kamala Harris called Holland "a true predator."

According to prosecutor Braden Woods, both DNA evidence found at the scene of the murder, and Holland's alleged statements to police, will play a role in the prosecution.

"He made admissions in the case," Woods said today, without elaborating.

Holland is believed to have suffered an injury to his left hand, possibly from his own knife, as Horan was trying to defend herself, according to Woods.

Police said that at the time of the killing, Holland had been on parole after serving a prison sentence for attempted murder in Fresno County.

Holland remains in custody without bail.


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