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Saturday, March 1, 1997
'Cheerleader mom' freed after serving six months
By MICHELLE KOIDIN Associated Press Writer
HOUSTON (AP) - Wanda Holloway, jailed for trying to hire a
hit man to kill the mother of her daughter's cheerleading rival,
was freed this morning.
Ms. Holloway had served six months of a 10-year sentence after
pleading no contest to solicitation of capital murder. She will
be on probation for the next 9-1/2 years.
Ms. Holloway - the so-called "cheerleader mom" whose
saga drew international publicity and led to two television movies
- initially was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1991. That
conviction was overturned when it was discovered a juror was on
Ms. Holloway did not answer questions while leaving the courtroom
During the hearing, State District Judge George Godwin denied
prosecutors' request to send Ms. Holloway to a mental hospital.
He instead ordered her to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Godwin
said he would re-evaluate the terms of her probation after the
"Until we know a doctor has said she is over this obsession,
no, we do not feel comfortable," said Verna Heath, the target
of the alleged plot.
However, Mrs. Heath added, "I don't intend on spending
the rest of my life scared."
Godwin also ordered Ms. Holloway to perform 1,000 hours of
community service. He recommended she spend it in a homeless shelter.
During her half-year at the state prison in Gatesville she
was assigned to the hoe detail, clearing weeds from sides of highways.
Defense attorney Jack Zimmermann said Ms. Holloway already
has lined up a job as a secretary at a small business in Kingwood,
which is across Houston from Channelview, where the events unfolded.
Zimmermann said his client does not plan to cash in on her
notoriety, adding no book or movie deals are in the works.
"She's not going to do any interviews for compensation,"
Jurors in the 1991 trial heard secretly recorded tapes of Ms.
Holloway asking her brother-in-law to hire a hit man to kill the
mother of a girl who was vying against her daughter for a spot
on the cheerleading squad.
Ms. Holloway said she wanted the mother killed because she
believed that the daughter would be so upset that she would drop
out of the competition.
Witnesses at the original trial described Ms. Holloway as a
vindictive mother who was overzealous in pursuing her daughter's
dreams. Both girls were 13 at the time.
The case was spoofed in the HBO movie "The Positively
True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom,"
which starred actress Holly Hunter as Ms. Holloway. A second made-for-TV
movie, "Willing to Kill: the Texas Cheerleader Story,"
aired on ABC in 1992. Send
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