Jury takes minutes to convict woman of ninth DWI.
A 35th District Court jury deliberated for just minutes Wednesday morning before convicting Brenda Kay Holland, 61, of DWI — her ninth conviction for drunken driving since the 1980s.
Jurors heard punishment phase testimony for the rest of the day Wednesday but had not started to deliberate punishment as of late Wednesday afternoon. Holland testified during the punishment phase and asked jurors to show her mercy.
Prosecutor Sam Moss introduced court records into evidence showing that Holland had the multiple convictions for DWI and other offenses.
Holland was stopped by an Early police officer who saw her driving in an oncoming traffic lane the night of July 19, 2012, and had a blood alcohol content of .198 — nearly 2 1/2 times the legal limit, according to testimony in the guilt-innocence part of the trial.
Defense attorney Landon Thompson told jurors in his closing arguments following the guilt-innocence phase that Holland did have two or possibly three beers that night — nowhere near enough to produce a .198 blood alcohol content reading, Thompson argued.
Thompson said Holland's behavior in front of the Early officer — including slurred speech and staggering — was the result of a day Holland had spent working in a storage building on a sweltering summer day, without proper nutrition and hydration.
Holland was cooperative with the officer, Thompson told jurors. When Holland is intoxicated, Thompson said, she becomes angry, mean and violent.
Thompson also said Holland's diabetes could have caused DWI-like behavior. Thompson further suggested that the high blood alcohol content reading could have been false, and caused by bacteria contaminating blood from the blood draw.
Prosecutor Christina Nelson refuted Thompson's contention that the blood sample was contaminated and gave a high and inaccurate reading.
"The blood in this case doesn't lie," Nelson said, reminding jurors several times of Holland's blood alcohol content.
Nelson reminded jurors of testimony from the Department of Public Safety crime lab analyst, Herman Carroll, who analyzed Holland's blood. Carroll had testified that Holland's blood was not contaminated by bacteria and said he would not have tested the blood had it been contaminated, Nelson said.
Holland wasn't diagnosed with diabetes until after the 2012 offense, Nelson told jurors.
Nelson, referring to Thompson's assertion that Holland's behavior was caused by working in the heat, asked, "how does that explain the .198? It doesn't.
"Brenda Holland got drunk that day."
In other recent 35th District Court cases:
William Dewayne Covington pleaded guilty to indecency with a child by exposure and was sentenced to six years in prison.
In a Mills County case prosecuted by Moss, Whitney Lord pleaded guilty to injury to a child arising from an incident in which she assaulted a disabled nursing home resident. Lord asked Ellis to assess her punishment.
After a contested hearing, Ellis sentenced Lord to four years in prison.
Karen Leigh Dempsey, also known as Karen Leigh Davis, pleaded guilty to DWI and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Jacklyn Sue Pace pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of a vehicle and credit or debit card abuse and was sentenced to 15 months in state jail in each case.