Two Vista Murrieta High School football players go to court facing charges of sex crimes allegedly involving a half dozen young girls. Keshawn Holmes and Byron Holt, both 17 years old, both go before a judge. Holmes is charged with rape and false imprisonment, as prosecutors claim some of the girls involved were held against their will. Investigators say this supposedly all happened during the summer months and off school campus.
High emotions outside of court right after today's hearing as a mother of one of the young alleged victims yells out, " He needs to be locked up. Throw away the key." She's referring to Holmes who was ordered to remain locked up at Juvenile Detention Hall until his next court appearance. The attorney representing the other football player charged, Byron Holt, claims the charges against Holt involve consensual sex. Holt was released under the supervision of his parents and is due back in court next month.
From Hal Eisner:
There's anger outside the courthouse in Murietta and some pretty tough words. Parents of a teenage girl yelling at news cameras. Screaming "he needs to be locked up in jail ... no juvenile court ... my child is my only daughter - lock him up that's what they need to do and throw the key away. That's what they have to do with this (expletive deleted)!"
The parents anger exploded as they walked passed a interview being conducted outside the courthouse in which a Holme's friend said he was on the fence as to what happened, but he'd side with Holmes and Holt because they were his friends. That was some of the drama surrounding the days detention hearings for Keshawn Holmes and Byron Holt. They were arrested about a week ago after a two week investigation triggered by a parent reporting an assault.
At the courthouse were a dozen or so friends of Holmes there to offer their support at today's detention hearing to determine if he should continue to be detained. They couldn't believe this had escalated into such a big deal. Said Brandon Rogers, who graduated last year, "this is shocking to everybody. I talked to him Wednesday ... We talked about that (the case) last week but we didn't think it was going to be this big ... we thought it was going to be an open and shut case ... he denies everything. He want's to look forward to his career. This has already damaged his career." Meanwhile Holmes friend A.J. Williams says he doesn't believe the girls who say they were victimized.
Prosecutors filed some serious charges against Holmes including rape by force and fear. The judge decided Holmes should continue to be held. A friend says Holt was released but the court wouldn't confirm that.
Miles Clark is an attorney for Holt and his family. Tasha Penneiman is Holt's mother. When I asked her to react to what happened she said she was shocked .. it's sad ... my son is a good son we support him. he had consensual sex ... (he) didn't know it was wrong. He was a virgin" his mom tells me.
Attorney Clark admits consensual sex among minors is a problem. "A minor can not consent to sex." But, he intends to do what he can to protect his client. Meanwhile, his mom tells meByron wants to be in law enforcement. Wants to go to college. He's disappointed in the system. He's a good kid. Never gets in trouble with the law. He didn't know he was doing something wrong. My son was a virgin."
Meanwhile DA spokesman John Hall says he can't talk about the Holt case, but he can say of the Holmes' one "the Judge did rule to keep him in detention. He set Oct 30th for further proceedings. He will be in juvenile hall till then . Next hearing will also be confidential. That could change in the future."
As for today's hearing media was not allowed only immediate family members and victims and their families. At the request of victim parents the hearing was closed to the public and will continue to be so when the hearing is continued Oct. 30th. Hall says the question of closure in the future could change based on the judge's feelings.
As for the cases Hall says "we believe we have a strong case or we would not have filed it."