Holian sentenced to 20 years in road rage case

Holian sentenced to 20 years in road rage case

Fox16 confirms James Holian has received four 20 year sentences in the 2010 road rage case that resulted in the death of four family members.
Truck involved in fatal crash on Hwy 64
Truck involved in fatal crash on Hwy 64
CONWAY, Ark. (AP) - A man convicted of killing four family members caught up in what authorities described as a "road rage" incident between him and another motorist was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison.

James Charles "Chuck" Holian, 40, of Cabot was convicted late Thursday on four counts of first-degree murder. His lawyer, Frank Shaw, argued that first-degree murder was too severe a charge, and Holian took the stand to defend himself.

But jurors apparently agreed with prosecutors, who claimed Holian maliciously swerved toward the other driver's vehicle and caused the crash that killed Frank and Judith San Felippo, of Sun City, Ariz.; their son, John San Felippo, 35; and their grandson, Jersey San Felippo, 10. John San Felippo's wife, Marilyn, was seriously injured and spent a week in a coma.

Both sides agreed the incident began when Russell Johnston of Vilonia didn't accelerate at a green light. Holian passed him at an intersection, and prosecutors said the two chased each other for eight miles before Johnston's vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic and crashed into the victims.

Johnston, who was paralyzed by the crash, also faces four first-degree murder charges and is scheduled for trial in November.

Deputy Prosecutor Ted Thomas told the jury that Holian committed aggravated assault when he swerved at Johnson's vehicle, and that when someone dies as a result of aggravated assault, that fits the legal definition of first-degree murder.

Holian testified he did not swerve toward Johnston, "accidentally or on purpose," the Log Cabin Democrat reported.

But Deputy Prosecutor Troy Braswell reminded Holian that other witnesses testified they saw his car swerve toward Johnston's.

"Anyone that said I swerved to hit him is wrong or lying," Holian responded. "I wouldn't put it past any of them to have a conspiracy against me."

Holian has been locked up since his arrest after the Sept. 10, 2010, crash. He was sent to the state prison system Friday after he was sentenced. Prosecutors say he won't be eligible for parole for 14 years.

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