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head case Man caught with severed head and body parts in truck says he is just an unlucky car thief

Police found a severed head inside, while coolers allegedly contained 'two human legs' and an apparent 'human torso'


Eric Holland

Eric Holland

Eric Holland

A man who is charged with murder after a severed head, legs and a torso were found in a truck he was driving claims he is just an unlucky thief who had stolen the vehicle.

Lawyers for Eric Holland (57) claim he knew nothing about the body parts that were discovered by Las Vegas police after a routine traffic stop.

On December 23, a police officer pulled over a Toyota Tundra truck on Tropicana Avenue in the Spring Valley neighbourhood after a license check showed its registration was suspended.

The driver initially stopped but then drove away, the police report reveals.

Officers followed the truck for about three miles before it drove into a parking garage next to the Rio hotel & casino.

Another truck, a Chevrolet Avalanche, came out of the garage a short time later. Police, believing it was the same driver, followed the Chevy for two more miles, until it stopped at an apartment complex near the Orleans casino.

Holland got out and repeatedly ignored commands given by police, according to court documents and when he attempted to flee, he was stunned with a taser and detained.

With Holland in custody, police searched the trucks which had both been reported stolen.

While searching the Chevy, police found a black plastic trash bag emitting “a foul odour.”

They opened it and found a severed head inside, while coolers allegedly contained “two human legs” and “an apparent human torso.”

The victim was later identified as Richard P Miller (65) of Las Vegas whose death was declared to be a homicide due to multiple gunshot wounds.

On Tuesday, a judge denied bail for Holland, who remains held in the Clark County Detention Center, online records show.

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"Proof is evident and the presumption is great that Mr Holland committed murder," the judge said.

Holland's public defender, P David Westbrook, said that his client did not kill anyone and that he just happened to steal a truck that had body parts in it.

Holland, Westbrook said in court, is "a hapless car thief who just picked the wrong car".

Prosecutors must prove that Holland knew the body was in the truck "and that he actually caused the death," he said.

He pointed out that the truck bed was covered and the coolers sealed.

“In order to presume that Mr Holland had prior knowledge of the contents of this truck, you would also have to believe that he led police to the body intentionally,” Westbrook said. “The question is: why would he do this?”

However, prosecutors contend that Miller was an acquaintance of Holland’s who had been caught on video in a Home Depot buying a saw and plastic bags.

Holland has not yet entered a plea but his next court appearance is scheduled for January 27, according to Westbrook and court documents.

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