Alice Loggins feared one day Steven Spears would kill her sister.
“He had been threatening her. He threatened all of us,” Loggins said of the man who murdered her sister in Lumpkin County in 2001 and is scheduled to die Wednesday.
Loggins wants people to know about her sister, Sherri Holland, who was younger by 14 years. So on Tuesday, she and other relatives will tell the State Board of Pardons and Paroles in Atlanta about Holland to ensure the five board members keep her in mind when they vote on whether to grant Spears clemency.
Holland was a 34-year-old single mother who loved heavy metal rock ‘n’ roll, shopping and her 14-year-old son.
Loggins said Holland was the youngest of eight and was “petted rotten.”
Holland also was the adored aunt who was the glue that kept the huge family together, Loggins said of her baby sister.
“She was our little light,” Loggins said. “We used to have to dance her to sleep when she was a baby.”
Spears said all the right things at the beginning of his three-year relationship with Holland, but he quickly became threatening, Loggins said.
“He was just a cruel man. We tried to keep her away,” Loggins said.
“He took our joy.”
Loggins said when her sister finally ended the relationship with Spears, she still rented him a mobile home she owned.
Loggins said Spears was supposed to pay rent on the trailer, but she doubts he ever did.
“She had broke up (with him) and he wouldn’t let her go,” Loggins said.
4 Plans To Kill 1 Woman
Spears developed four plans for murdering Holland and prepared for each — electrocuting her in the shower, beating her to death, shooting her, or suffocating her.
Around 10 p.m. on Aug. 24, 2001, Spears hid in the closet of Holland’s son, who was spending the weekend with his father. Around four hours later, he came out and killed her.
Spears choked Holland until she was unconscious, then smothered her by wrapping duct tape around her face and mouth, placing a plastic bag over her head, and sealing the bag with duct tape.
Before he left her house in Dahlonega, across the street from what was then North Georgia Military College, he secured her bedroom door with a padlock and turned on the heater, setting it at 90 even though it was late August.
The next day, Holland was supposed to pick up her son, Derrick, at his father’s house. But she never showed.
“Derrick was the most important thing in the world for her. She would never be late,” Loggins said.
They called around and went to her house, but didn’t see her because she was in her bedroom, which was padlocked.
Once deputies arrived, they sent Derrick outside before they went into the bedroom, where his mother’s body lay, Loggins said.
Killer Wants To Be Killed
Once caught, Spears readily confessed to the murder. He told investigators 10 days after killing Holland — 10 days during which he’d hidden in the woods — that he had warned Holland that if he ever found out she was with somebody else, he’d “choke her … to death.”
He told investigators, “If I had to do it again, I’d do it.”
An automatic direct appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court was filed soon after he was tried and sentenced to die in 2007. The Supreme Court denied the appeal in February 2015, and he has not allowed his attorney to bring any of the usual appeals since.
His attorney, Allyn Stockton, said Spears wouldn’t let his defense team present any evidence that might dissuade the Lumpkin County jury from voting for a death sentence.
For more than a year, Spears has not responded to any letters from his attorney and has refused to come out when his lawyer visits the prison.
For Sister, Not About Revenge
“I didn’t think I would see it in my lifetime. I’m 64,” Loggins said. “I kept telling my niece, ‘Y’all make sure this (execution) goes through. He’s wanted this all the time.”
For years Loggins wanted revenge, but that changed as she got older and her Christian faith deepened.
“Sherri would not have wanted that,” Loggins said. “When they do this, and Steve faces Sherri and the Lord, I can see Sherri telling God she forgives him. I can see it plain as day.”