A man who carried out two robberies and a kidnapping, prompting lockdowns at several schools, was sentenced Wednesday to nearly 14 1/2 years in prison.
Dominique Ray Holland, 23, pleaded guilty Aug. 21 in Clark County Superior Court to four charges. Judge Bernard Veljacic followed the sentencing recommendation of prosecutors, which was in the middle of the standard sentencing range in Holland’s case.
“This is an egregious case,” Veljacic said. He said that the first time he read about the incidents “I thought, ‘This is insane. This is like a movie or something.’”
On Sept. 10, 2018, Vancouver police officers responded to a reported robbery and vehicle theft around 2:15 a.m. in the 3500 block of East 21st Street, in Vancouver’s Maplewood neighborhood.
The victim reported that, within a minute of arriving home, he heard a knock at his door, according to a Vancouver police press release. When his girlfriend answered the door, an unknown man pushed his way inside, pointed a firearm at the couple and demanded money and car keys. After taking the items, the man fled in the couple’s Volkswagen Passat.
During the encounter, the man told the girlfriend he “would shoot her too,” according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Roughly three hours later, police responded to the 8000 block of Northwest Bacon Road, in the West Hazel Dell neighborhood, for a report of a disturbance with a weapon.
The victim, a security guard named Marshall L. Cox, said he was unlocking a gate near the entrance of Vancouver Lake Regional Park when a Passat pulled up behind him with its hazard lights flashing, according to the affidavit. The driver exited the car and forced the security guard into the passenger’s side of his security vehicle at gunpoint.
The man then drove the security guard to a residence in the county, according to the affidavit. The carjacker pointed a gun at him the entire time.
“(Cox) tried to engage (Holland) in conversation to keep him calm,” the affidavit reads. “Marshall Cox stated that the male informed him that he went by the name ‘Bully.’”
The assailant forced the security guard into the trunk. Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Anna Klein said Wednesday that Cox pulled the emergency latch and hopped out while the vehicle was still moving and called 911. He escaped uninjured.
“It was absolutely terrifying to Mr. Cox,” Klein said. “He was absolutely convinced that he was going to die that day.”
Police canvassed the area, which prompted lockdowns at several schools — Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin elementary schools, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and Discovery Middle School. Police located both the Passat and the security guard’s vehicle, but not the suspect, that day.
Three days later, police received an anonymous tip that Holland matched the suspect’s description, according to the affidavit. A records check revealed Holland has used the nickname Bully, and his physical description matched those given by victims. When presented with a photo lineup, all of the victims chose Holland.
Clark County Sheriff’s deputies, Vancouver Police Safe Street Task Force officers and the U.S. Marshals Service arrested Holland four days after the crimes.
The first two victims were not present for Wednesday’s hearing. Cox, through a victim’s advocate, said he needed to quit his job as a security guard because approaching people is now too stressful.
Holland’s criminal history dates to at least 2007 and includes convictions for attempting to elude police, possession and trafficking of stolen property, assault and “numerous other misdemeanor history,” according to prosecutors.
Sean Downs, Holland’s defense attorney, said his client doesn’t remember much of the incident, because he was under the influence of methamphetamine and bath salts. The attorney added that Holland committed the crimes to access drugs.
Holland started abusing methamphetamine when he was 14, Downs said, and requested a sentence closer to 12 1/2 years, which is on the lower end of the standard sentencing range.
“It was irrational behavior,” Downs said. “It’s hard to explain.”
Holland said minutes before the sentence was announced that he would accept the punishment Veljacic handed down.
“I feel bad for my actions,” Holland said. “I didn’t mean to hurt anybody, and if I did, I apologize.”
Veljacic recommended that Holland form a plan to kick his drug addiction.
“It’s a sad story. It’s a sad history,” Veljacic said. “There’s a point at which we have to separate dangerous people from society.”
After the hearing, Holland walked back to the inmate holding room adjacent to the courtroom, refusing to sign sentencing paperwork. Veljacic informed his attorney that Holland would not be able to be transferred from the Clark County Jail to prison unless the papers were signed.
“He told me he’d accept any sentence I gave,” Veljacic said. “I guess he’s having second thoughts.”
Moments later, after consulting with Downs, Holland returned and signed the paperwork.