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March 2, 2006

South Carolina top judge calls for sentencing reform

As detailed in this interesting article, South Carolina's Chief Justice "called for a 'policy summit' on sentences in South Carolina, citing exploding prison populations nationwide."  Here are selections from an interesting read:

"Sentencing in the United States is a national disgrace," Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal said Wednesday in her annual speech to the S.C. General Assembly....  From 1970 through 2000, the nation's prison population increased six-fold, Toal said. "This is a huge drain on state and local resources."...  "We don't know the answer now as to how the system is being run because it's been such a long time since we've taken a real hard look at it," Toal said afterward. "I want to know if there are better ways to sentence and incarcerate than what we are using now."...

State Sen. Jake Knotts, R-Lexington, a former police officer, said he thinks the state should resurrect the sentencing guidelines commission.  He was a member of the group, which disbanded a few years ago.  The commission proposed uniform sentence ranges based on the severity of the crime and the defendant's criminal history....

North Carolina adopted similar guidelines in the mid-1990s. They helped reduce prison populations and saved about $1 billion over a decade, said Tom Ross, former chairman of that state's sentencing commission. The goal of structured sentencing, he said, is to keep violent criminals behind bars longer while providing alternatives to prison, such as house arrest or substance abuse counseling, for non-violent offenders.

March 2, 2006 at 09:11 AM | Permalink


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My name is Marie Holder and I am writing on behalf of my daughter, Brandi Holder. She was found guilty of Homicide by Child Abuse on February 9, 2006 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. My daughter is innocent; she has never abused her son in any way and never knowingly allowed anyone else to do so either. So, on behalf of Brandi and my family I am pleading with you to PLEASE take an hour of your time to read this letter along with the letters that have been included. In doing so, I know that you will come to the same realization that we have and find that justice has not been carried out in my daughter’s case. My plea to you is to PLEASE help us rectify the grave injustice that has been rendered. I realize that it has been over a month since this took place but we were waiting until the man who was involved in this case was caught to see if he would tell the truth and exonerate her before we took the next step.

Brandi received a phone call at work on the morning of July 17, 2002 from Mark Martucci ( her live in boyfriend at the time) stating that her 2 ½ year old son was not acting right and needed medical attention. She informed him that she was leaving work and would meet him at Allen Bennett Hospital. Upon arriving at the hospital and requesting to see her son on multiple occasions, she was denied that right, told that her son was dead, and was asked to travel to the Law Enforcement Center. No one in my family was allowed to see the baby after his death and no one ever officially identified him from my family after his death. After arriving at the Law Enforcement Center, she was taken back at 4:55 pm to be interrogated by the police for 7 ½ to 8 hours straight without the presence of a video camera. While the officers were very clear during their testimony at the trial that she was not under arrest or charged with anything for ¾ of this time, it was never made clear to her or my family that she was free to leave at any point during this interrogation. We were led to believe that she had to remain there until she answered any and all of their questions to their satisfaction. My daughter was not given any kind of break (bathroom, food, or drink), nor was she allowed to see her family. In light of the fact that she had just lost her son, was refused the right to say good-bye or see her child, and was not under arrest; I feel that our repeated request to see her should not have been denied. She asked several times to use the restroom and to be allowed to go home with her family but she was denied that right until she answered any and all questions to their satisfaction. If she was not under arrest, given the circumstances, I feel that was cruel and unusual punishment for a grieving mother. If Brandi had been allowed to see her son and the injuries that he had sustained after she left to go to work the case would have been solved because she would have known that her son had been beaten to death at the hands of Mark Martucci or someone else. Without knowing or seeing her child at the time of his death, there was no way that she could give the police officers accurate information as to what had transpired while she was absent from the home. She was promised that once she made a statement and signed it that she would be free to leave with her family. After making the first statement, the lead investigator, Doug Kelly, appeared on the scene aware of the injuries that the child had suffered from, dumped her purse on the desk while stating, “Any good mother would have a picture of her child.” Upon finding the picture, his actions were such that she feared that he was going to rip her sons’ picture in half. Without her having first hand knowledge of her sons’ injuries, she was put in a position to make yet another statement that would hopefully satisfy what they were wanting from her. While she admits her statements were lies in part, she also has maintained from day one that she would have done anything, said anything, and signed anything to just get out of there and into the arms of her family. Sometime after midnight, the officer told me and her father that we could go home, she had confessed, and was now under arrest. Four months later my daughter was released on bond until the trial date.

Three days after my grandson was deceased, I received a phone call from Linda Holbrook from the coroner’s office informing me that the solicitor, Mrs. Seay, was going to make this a “Susan Smith” case and she wanted to prepare us up front. Susanna Ross was the public defender that was assigned to my daughter’s defense and she stated on numerous occasions that Mrs. Seay (solicitor) had a personal vendetta against my daughter. She refused to accept a plea bargain from my daughter but yet she allowed the young man (John Parker) that was with Mark the day my grandson died to accept a plea bargain for turning state’s evidence on Mark Martucci. It is my understanding that Mrs. Seay was out on maternity leave when she received this case and given the nature of the crime, I feel like it was a conflict of interest for her to be allowed to try this case. It was made clear to us that this was the states case, the burden of proof rested within their office, and the ball was in their court. However, the state prosecutor never made a request for a speedy trial and three years later, we were still waiting on a trial date. This in itself violates my daughter’s right to the sixth amendment, which clearly states in part that “A trial must commence within 70 days from the date the information or indictment was filed.” When the trial date came up in November of 2005, the public defender was 9 months pregnant, signed a statement that the case had not been worked on in the past three years, and she was stepping down due to her due date being around that same time. That forced my daughter to have to hire a lawyer to defend herself. When the lawyer asked for a continuance to prepare for the trial, the solicitor only wanted to allow two weeks for him to do this but the judge allowed eight weeks. This time frame allowed the lawyer two months to prepare for her trial, and in the midst of it was Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, less than two months was given to prepare to fight for my daughter’s life versus the three years that the state had. Somehow that speaks injustice to me. When the trial was over, there was no more evidence produced than the day that my daughter was released on bond. Why was three years needed?

On the Day of the trial, Mark Martucci never showed up (they were being tried at the same time) and that left all eyes on my daughter. Throughout the trial, almost every objection that her lawyer made was overruled, but all objections made by the solicitor were sustained. I have never seen a trial that was as one sided as this one was. The solicitor brought up witness after witness that stated that they had observed this and that but there were two problems that I found with those witnesses: # 1, everything that was testified to was hearsay – no evidence. # 2, one of the witnesses had been charged with lynching during this three year period and ten days after she made a statement in this case, the charges were dropped completely. There was not one shred of evidence produced in this case – no blood, no weapon, nothing. They had two credible witnesses, John Parker and Brandi’s ex-husband, Darren Turner. John Parker was the young man who was with Mark when the baby sustained the injuries that lead to his death, but he stated very clearly that he never witnessed Brandi harm her son in any way and that she was at work when it happened. He stated that he had only witnessed Mark hurting the baby. If he was there when all the injuries took place and was allowed a plea bargain, I can’t fathom why my daughter, who was not present when it happened, wouldn’t have been given the same opportunity. John was given a three year suspended sentence with time served. How can an individual who was present when the crime took place and admitted that he could have done a lot of things to save the baby go free on a suspended sentence while my daughter goes to prison when she wasn’t even there? Darren Turner tried to make a formal statement to the police after the death of my grandson to let them know what kind of mother Brandi was but when he had nothing bad to say, they refused to take his statement. At the trial, his testimony was that Brandi was a good mother who protected her child and that he had never witnessed any abuse whatsoever. The state proved that Mark was the one who ultimately took the life of my grandson and because my daughter was at work and wasn’t able to protect her son, she has been sentenced to serve 25 years in prison. According to the solicitor’s witnesses they saw signs of abuse (no evidence was presented) and they didn’t do anything to prevent or stop it. Why weren’t they charged?

By far, the most insensitive thing the solicitor presented and the judge allowed was the photographs of the autopsy performed on my grandson. Objections were made and it was determined that charts could have been used in place of the pictures to explain the same information that was given; it was overruled. Other than to raise the emotions of the jury, there was no logical or legitimate reason to show those photographs. That tactic was cruel and unusual punishment for a mother who had never had the opportunity to say good-bye or see his injuries until they were displayed for all to see in the court room for the first time.

My daughter never had a fair or speedy trial. She wasn’t innocent until proven guilty; she was guilty from day one and treated as such right up until she was sentenced. Her lawyers walked out of there shocked and teary eyed and they had only known Brandi for less than two months and that should count for something. I ask you, where has there been justice for my daughter? She is innocent, she didn’t kill her son, and she never knew of any abuse that he may have suffered at the hands of Mark Martucci or anyone else. Young and naïve, she may very well have been but does that constitute sending her to prison for 25 years? A mother that has done drugs and her baby was stillborn because of it only received a sentence of ten years and my daughter gets twenty five, why? I am pleading with you to PLEASE help my daughter to go free so she can come home to her family and we can try to put this nightmare behind us together. PLEASE pardon her sentence and send her home where she belongs. I have been approached by the media to tell her side of the story but I wanted to ask for your mercy in this grave miscarriage of injustice before I made that decision.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Enclosed are letters that have been written on behalf of my daughter.

Marie Holder
351 Anderson Ridge Rd.
Greer, SC 29651
Home # 864-458-9237
Cell # 864-350-6573

Posted by: Marie Holder | Mar 20, 2006 5:01:09 PM

My name is Ben Holder and I am the father of Brandi Holder. I work at General Electric in Greenville, SC now approaching 36 years. I am a Christian, with high standards of integrity and have tried to raise my children with the same ideals. Family is my number one priority. Now my family is faced with the most profound case of injustice that one could ever imagine. A case so severe, that it threatens the very existence of my family.

My daughter, Brandi Holder, was taken to court on February 06, 2006 on charges in the death of her son, and sentenced to 25 years in prison for homicide by child abuse (statute A). Attached you will find facts of the trial now entered into court records, which indicates profoundly that my daughter was tried on charges for which she is not guilty! The key witness for the state confirmed under oath that Brandi was not there, she knew nothing of the happenings, and did not participate in the happenings of this tragedy. I have lived in South Carolina all of my life and I am completely devastated at how my state has treated my family and me in this regard. I am pleading for your intervention and assistance into this situation that will devastate and destroy my family. Please, help my family and me to recover, to overcome the great loss of our grandson, and live our lives out in peace. Please, help us not to lose our daughter! We have suffered enough!!

Benjamin L Holder Home Phone: 864-297-4887
351 Anderson Ridge Road
Greer, S.C. 29651

Email: [email protected]

Trial Facts

** The newspaper and television coverage portrayed only the state side of the case. Brandi was subjected to negative stereotypical treatment from day 1.

** Brandi & her family had to wait 3.5 years for a trial.

** Three days after the baby died, the grandparents received a phone call from the Asst Coroner who stated, “I feel so sorry for you. I’ve called to warn you, they are going to make this a Susan Smith trial.”

** Assistant Solicitor had NO new or additional evidence in Feb. 2006 than she had in Aug.2002. Why did Brandi have to wait 3.5 years?

** Due to lawyer retaining fees of thousands of dollars, which neither Brandi nor her parents could afford, she had to be assigned a Public Defender. And of course, all fees had to be paid in advance prior to any case work.

** During the 3.5 years of wait, the Public Defender attempted many times to plea for Brandi with the Asst. Solicitor. On every attempt, the Asst. Solicitor rejected any plea other than guilty to Statute A. Brandi and her family were told on every occasion that the Solicitor thought Brandi was guilty and deserved to do jail time.

** Television reporters were told by the Greenville sheriff’s department that the trial delay was due to Asst. Solicitor being on sick leave and Brandi procuring new lawyers. The fact is, the Asst. Solicitor was on maternity leave for a few weeks in 2002 but not 3.5 years. Brandi’s Public Defender pulled herself OFF the case in Nov.2005 just 3 weeks before the original trial date of Nov.28, due to pregnancy. This left Brandi with no legal representation or to await assignment of another Public Defender. In either case, the defense lawyers would be overwhelmingly unprepared for the case if the trial was Nov. 28. Brandi had NO choice but to acquire new lawyers.

** The new lawyers petitioned the Solicitor for a continuance to prepare for the trial. They were denied by the Solicitor on every occasion. The lawyers then petitioned the Court against a heated battle from the Asst. Solicitor who stated in court, “they have had 3 years to get prepared for this case.” An 8-week continuance was granted by the judge but only after the new lawyers produced a signed letter from the Public Defender’s office stating that they, the Public Defenders, had done NOTHING on the case in 3 years. During this 8-week period were Thanksgiving and Christmas reducing the work time to 6 weeks.

** Since the Asst. Solicitor decided to try both Brandi and Mark Martucci at the same time, Mark’s lawyers were allowed 5 strikes on jury selection & Brandi’s lawyers were allowed 5 strikes on jury selection. The Solicitor was allowed a full 10 strikes. The final jury consisted of 7 women (all but 1 had children), 5 men, & 1 alternate (a woman).

** Under oath, the state’s Medical Examiner established a window of when the fatal injuries could have taken place to “between one hour prior to death to 12 hours prior to death”. During questioning by the Asst. Solicitor, the Dr. stated, “if someone would have called 911, the baby would have survived the injuries and most likely would have fully recovered.”

** The state moved to enter a book of photos (4.5” thick) into evidence of the dead baby showing bruises and several photos of the autopsy performed by the Medical Examiner. Both sets of defense lawyers objected and contested that it was not necessary to show a jury of lay people graphic photos that appeared to be only for the purpose of inciting sensationalism and that they would not understand anyway when other more appropriate means could have been used such as a “Grey’s Anatomy Chart”. The judge left it to the opinion of the Medical Examiner, stating, “If the Dr. says he has to have them to explain, I will have to allow them.” Of course, the Medical Examiner said he preferred to use them.

** Autopsy photos showed a child's torso surgically opened; internal organs graphically manipulated; basic horror picture type graphics. All of this was to describe an injury between his stomach and intestine, which was just as describable using the Grey’s Anatomy chart.

** The medical examiner stated to the Asst. Solicitor while under oath as part of the state’s evidence that the baby had a bite mark on one arm. He stated that he measured the mark and it appeared to be from an adult. Under cross-examination by Brandi’s lawyers, he was asked if he had made casts of the defendants mouths to determine where the bite might have come and he stated no. When asked why, he stated that he did not have that expertise and there were no resources available to perform this task. When asked why he did not try to obtain an “expert” to do casts, he repeated that no experts were readily available. Should this be allowed as evidence if no experts were available for 3.5 years?

** During the trial there was NO forensic evidence entered by the state. NO DNA, NO weapon, NO blood evidence from the van used to transport Bo to the hospital, NO fingerprints – NOTHING! When asked under oath by Brandi’s lawyers why no forensic evidence was taken, the lead detective stated, “he didn’t think it was necessary.”

** Several witnesses for the state, who under oath stated that they saw some (isolated) bruises on the baby, did not attempt to communicate these bruises to authorities at the time noticed, but thought suspiciously of these bruises. None of these bruises were related to the photos of the medical examiner. One witness said she called DSS twice, but DSS had no electronic receipt of any phone call from her or anyone. Most of these witnesses had previous criminal records. One witness, who had been indicted for lynching, made a statement to detectives at the end of July 2002 against Brandi and mysteriously the lynching charges were dropped 3 days later. Under cross-examination, these witnesses stated they never witnessed Brandi or Mark do anything to the baby to harm the baby. None of these witnesses were charged with any crime in the baby’s death even though they came forward offering testimony against the defendants.

** One witness was recorded in the newspaper stating Brandi jerked Bo up by the arm and locked him in his bedroom for crying. Under cross-examination, she was informed that this could not have happened as she stated because the baby’s bedroom DID NOT have a door on it. The Grandparents who visited this house in June can attest that there was no door on the baby’s bedroom. Under cross examination it was shownthat her fiancé had been charged with several crimes, with no record at this time of any court actions.

** Original charges for the third party defendant were unlawful neglect by a guardian or custodian. On Nov. 16, 2005, this man entered a plea of guilty to homicide by child abuse-statute B (aiding and abetting) which carries a much greater sentence than his original charges. This guilty plea relieved him of being tried by a jury. The Asst. Solicitor accepted his plea and insisted that NO “deal” was made.

** Under oath, the third party defendant testified to knowledge of Mark Martucci doing several things to the baby, i.e., dunking his head under water, placing tape on his mouth when fussy, and spanking the child's legs. These things were included in his statement 3.5 years earlier. What caused him to plead up in charges if he did not participate? He also stated that on July 16, 2002, the day prior to the baby’s death, that the baby did not have the bruises in the medical examiner’s photos. He stated that all of them had been out in public for the majority of the day on July 16. He stated that the baby did not have the bruises in the medical examiner’s photos at 11:00 pm July 16. He stated that he had been up all night on the computer and went to bed at 6:00 am July 17, 2002 and that the baby did not have the bruises in the medical examiner’s photos at 6:00 am July 17, 2002.

** When asked when he noticed these severe bruises, he stated that a commotion woke him up around 11:00 am and when he got up to investigate, he saw the baby on the floor of his bedroom with the bruises shown in the photos and Mark mumbling out loud pacing the floor. When asked where Brandi was, he stated she was at work. “You mean she wasn’t there?” “No, she wasn’t there.”

** When asked if he had ever seen Brandi hit or hurt Bo, he stated “No.” He was asked, ”Have you ever seen Brandi do anything harmful to Bo?” He stated “No”. He was asked, “Have you ever seen Brandi do anything other than be a good mother to Bo?”, he said, “No”.

** During the course of the trial, Brandi’s lawyers made several attempts to enter a plea to the Asst. Solicitor of guilty to statute B of the homicide law – the same plea entered by the third party defendant. Her lawyers recommended this to the family to prevent the outcome going to a jury decision after the photographs were shown. On ALL occasions, the judge indicated to the Asst. Solicitor that he thought this was a FAIR offer. The Asst. Solicitor rejected these offers on each occasion.

** Being found guilty of Statute B of the homicide/neglect law of S.C. means you can be released after serving 30% of your sentence term with good behavior. For a 20 year sentence, you can be out in 6 years; for a 10 year sentence, you can be home in 3 years.

** Being found guilty of Statute A of the homicide/neglect law of S.C. means you MUST serve 85% of your sentence term before eligible for parole. The judge sentenced Brandi to 25 years in jail. She must serve 21 years 3 months with good behavior before she is eligible for parole. This would make Brandi 47 years old at release, most likely with no living parents, a daughter of 21 who was denied a life with a mother, and absolutely no life free of stereotypical negatives which in this case is undeserved.

** If a call to 911 would have saved the child, the only ones who could have called were the two male defendants at the home that day. The third party defendant made the decision not to get involved. He took the dog outside and smoked a cigarette. Two hours later, the child was dead. Brandi could NOT have called 911 because she was at work and did not know what had happened until minutes before the baby was dead. However, she was not allowed to plea!

** On March 9, 2006, the third party defendant stood for sentencing before the same judge that sentenced Brandi. He told the judge there were lots of things he could have done but he regrets he didn’t do anything. He received 3 years suspended sentence and time served (80 days). He is a free man. The solicitor said he had been helpful to police in the investigation of the case and there was really nothing he could have done to help the baby.

**South Carolina has multiple cases in just the last 6 years of homicide by child abuse where parents or guardians were present &/or participants and most of them did not receive sentences as great as Brandi, who was not there and did not participate.

** In S.C., it appears the Solicitor has overwhelming control of case outcome which appears to give an unfair advantage, and in this case presents questions.

**Brandi’s parents and an overwhelming majority of the public do NOT believe she deserves 25 years in prison. Why was Brandi not allowed to offer a plea? The loss of Bo and his memories will be punishment enough for the remainder of her life. As for Brandi’s parents, they now have lost 2 children!

Posted by: Ben Holder | Apr 14, 2006 12:21:52 PM

Christopher Pittman/Christopher's Bill

I commend the South Carolina Supreme Court to hear Christopher Pittman's appeal.

Children especially 12 years old should never be tried as an adult and much less sentenced as one.
Children 14 and younger are deemed by South Carolina as not culpable of knowing right from wrong, but yet this child was held to be culpable of a crime while on a precribed medication with side effects listed on the package insert indicating side effects that could cause one to commit a crime.

New legislation is needed now to address this growing problem of our youngest of children being tried as adults.

My name is Janet Sisk and I am the founder of the juvenile Justice Foundation.

Children throughout this nation are being sentenced as adults , as young as 12 years old are being tried as adults and sentenced to 30 years to life. Most of these children are first time offenders and are thrown away without any benefit of counseling or rehabilitation.

Children are 8 times more likely to be beaten, sexually abused or committ suicide while in adult prisons.

While I do agree that tough laws do need to be in place for hardened gang members and drug dealers, our first offending youth are getting caught up in these same laws, protections must be put into place and the circumstances of each case must be reviewed.

Currently there are no laws on the books for our first offending children. Children are being sentenced to 30 years for automobile accidents, one 17 year old child in FL. was sentenced to 30 years he was a first offender, clean kid , good student.

What the judical system is doing to our offending youth will come back ten fold for our future if we do not demand change for these first offending children.The government has basically abandoned any concepts of the juvenile justice system .

The South Carolina Supreme Court will hear Christopher's case in the next few months on the grounds of his constitutional rights being violated and unsettled law.

A proposed Bill has been sent to the legislators of South Carolina and Governor Sanford:

It is called Christopher’s Bill (The Juvenile Justice Reform Act ).

Written after 12 year old Christopher Pittman from Chester South Carolina. This purposed bill has been taken to Washington DC for review as a federal bill and is also being delivered throughout this nation to state legislators to conform to their state laws .

We must put laws into place that make a difference for many of our youngest of children that can be rehabilitated and not warehoused for 30 years to life.

Below are the amendments to Christopher’s Bill;



Children under the age of 14 by the state of South Carolina are deemed inculpable of knowing right from wrong and should not be held culpable of their crimes. Therefore they should be held accountable of their crimes as a child and be offered rehabilitation along with a court judges discretion on his sentence not a mandatory sentencing guideline that will simple destroy a child that could be rehabilitated and instead make a more dangerous criminal for future.


This amendment simply states that after a judge uses his own discretion in sentencing, he will put into place a possibility for a first offending child to have the opportunity to appear before the sentencing judge or parole board after a certain amount of time served and upon his rehabilitation and counseling records be reviewed for the possibility of parole.


Children 14 and under can not be tried as adults under any circumstances if there are no prior criminal records, putting into place rehabilitation, counseling and education.



This amendment falls under the bill that Senator Thomas of South Carolina has purposed on video and audio taping before such event occurs.Adding to that attorney or guardian as well before such event takes place.


As stated above coincides with Senator Thomas's purposed bill.


This amendment puts into place protections for children under special circumstances. There are presently 2 million children on prescribed medications for depression, ADD, ADHD etc. New warnings are coming out everyday on the adverse reactions, dangerous side effects, suicide ideation and homicidal ideation as Christopher Pittman’s case.

Protections must be put into place for these children on mind altering drugs as well. At the present there are no options under South Carolina Law concerning these circumstances.New legislation is needed.

South Carolina has insanity defenses, which include additional options for a jury to find a defendant not guilty by reason of insanity as well as guilty but mentally ill only .There is no law in this state on this subject.

We must include a charge so jurors would have to meet three tests for finding involuntary intoxication.

First, they would have to find the defendant did not know or have reason to know the drug had an intoxicating effect.

Second, the defendant would have had to have taken the drug under the direction of a physician.

Third, the jury would have to then conclude that, as a result of the involuntary intoxication, the defendant didn't know the difference between legal and moral right and wrong when the crime was committed.


Mentally ill and mentally disadvantaged children under the age of 14 will need extra protections put into place for these first offending children as well. Taking extra precautions,counseling and to the protections and care of mentally ill and disadvantaged children in the system as children.


This new purposed legislation (Christopher’s Bill) requires to be retroactive in order to allow the children in the system now that do have a good rehabilitation and counseling records to have the opportunity to benefit from a passed bill, this will give previous first offenders in the system the opportunity of having their cases reviewed and a possibl release if.

Children in adult prisons will only make a more dangerous criminal for our future. We must give them counseling, education and rehabiliation to stop this cycle.

To view please go to


We must begin a change and offer our youngest of first offending children every opportunity for rehabiltation and counseling.

For more information about the Foundation , please visit: www.juvenilejusticefoundation.com

Janet Sisk/ Founder / JJFC
The Juvenile Justice foundation

Contact : [email protected]
office 1-704-821-5124

Posted by: Janet Sisk | May 23, 2006 10:17:00 AM

Mr. and Mrs. Holder,
I just wanted to let you guys know that your not the only ones who have a loved one facing a long sentence for something they didn't do. Maybe it's a different situation, but I know exactly how you feel. The only advice I have for you is keep hope and believe in the Lord. Enough hope and faith will bring you peace.


Posted by: michelle | Jun 24, 2006 12:22:43 AM

My fiance' and the father of my two children, one is two and the other is three, was sent to the South Carolina Department of Corrections in August of last year. He was sentenced to four years on a second offence distrubution of crack cocaine. My fiance was first placed into a program that the solicer office in Greenville, South Carolina has called Drug Court. He was apart of this program for approximately two and a half years. After the third positive drug screen in two and a half, he was committed into the Department of Corrections. He is in the system as a non-violent offender. With a classification as a non-violent offender in the state of South Carolina, will my fiance have to do the whole four years that he was sentenced to do? From my understanding, violent offenders have to do 85% of their sentencing, but non-violent offenders have to do only a little over 50%.
Please e-mail me at the above email address to answer my question.

Posted by: Cassiopia Shumate | Jul 10, 2006 3:04:50 PM

Since this was a second offense he will have to do 85% of that sentence. My man got three years and the lawyer told us since it was non-violent he would only do 50%, but since this was a second offence he has to do 85%. The system is really screwed!

Posted by: Tree | Jul 15, 2006 12:59:33 AM

To the parents of Brandi Turner, I have met Brandi in prison while visiting a friend there, she is a very sweet girl and has always offered assistance to me and other visiting families, I have seen her with her newborn daughter and she bears the face of a loving mother when she looks at her daughter,I only hope that after reading your article that Brandi will soon get a fair trial and be able to raise her daughter .I believe in her innocence and if there is anything I can do to help your family other than pray. Please let me know. May God Bless you and yours.

Posted by: Rhonda | Aug 5, 2006 4:57:33 PM

On Thursday, October 5, 2006, The Oral Arguments for Christopher Pittman's case will be heard by the South Carolina Supreme Court. Christopher was 12 years old when he committed the crime. He was tried and sentenced as an adult to 30 years in adult prison. It is my hope and prayer that the justices see the injustice served Christopher and they rule in his favor. For those of you that are opposed to children being tried and sentenced as adults, please go sign the petition for Christopher's Bill - Juvenile Justice Reform Act http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/429258617

Posted by: patricia | Oct 2, 2006 5:50:01 PM

Mr. and Mrs. Holder.
I do not know your daughter, but as a mother of three i check my children everyday for anything out of the ordinary. I think any mother would know if there was anything being done harmful to their child. i am not saying anything bad because i was not there, the only people who know the truth are Brandi, John and Mark and GOD. But i do know Mark and Marks family. Mark was very good with children. Everyone that truely knows Mark can tell you that. He has a wonderful loving family. I do not think Mark could ever harm a child in any way. If you truely believe Brandi is not guilty and i truely believe Mark is not guilty, who does that Leave. We know the answer to that. My prays are you with your family and with the Martucci family who has also been wrongly done. God will prevail in this matter.

Posted by: Christie | Feb 27, 2008 11:57:09 AM

I too have a daughter recently convicted of homicide by child abuse in Beaufort SC. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison, and our stories are very similiar. Please contact me at your convenience. Perhaps we can join together to right this injustice.
Patricia Avery
[email protected]

Posted by: Patricia Avery | May 31, 2008 9:12:21 PM

Mr and Mrs holder im sorry for everything that happened with your daughter brandi.I myself know Mark Martucci for the past couple of years and he is a wonderful loving man very happy and comes from a wonderful loving family would never do that to a child.Obviously if your 100 percent positive your daughter did no wrong doing and everyone that knows Mark believe 100 percent that he would not nor did this then thats leaves one person to blame and we all know the answer that one.

Posted by: Kim | Jul 27, 2008 11:46:51 PM

Sory my post got cut off like i was saying me and mark used to date and i know him very well all the time we shared together i know for a hundred percet fact that he would never do this EVER maybe you should look into the other people involved besides the people i named above .Like i said im sorry for your daughter and the loss of the child but obviously something else was going on open your eyes!Mark is a lover big loving teddy bear and justice will be done im sure of it!No matter what it takes

Posted by: kim | Jul 28, 2008 12:12:09 AM

Im going to se marky this week and justice will hapen i just found out where he is located and i cant wait it will be my first time seeing him and i will post back when i seriously talk to him about what i think

Posted by: kim | Jul 28, 2008 12:57:25 AM

OH ps sorrry to be taking up this whole page but if anybody wants me to ask marky any ANYTHING let me know because i will be there to see him on fri. st or sunday.I will be in sc for the week So i will check back and you can let me know Thanks a whole bunch Goodbye

Posted by: kimmy | Jul 28, 2008 1:08:22 AM

Like i said i'll be staying in greenville celebrating a birthday i will see mark on friday saturday or sunday and the visit is LONG most likely i will go see him on sunday .. Ya'll need to let me know ANYTHING you want to ask him because this is serious.Justice will prevail in his honor this bog ol teddy bear baby didnt do this.. I will post the link to my personal blogs about all this but will have no computer.. thanks you

Posted by: kim | Jul 28, 2008 1:34:53 AM

I feel your pain marky bear and i miss you with each day that passes .. Justice will prevail.HONOR THY That speaks the truth free mark.. Im so glad were friends and i hope you and your girlfriend will be set free.MY personal blog is down i have to pay but it will be up and be honoring both people in thy situation. I only speak the gtruth love you always marky bear

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The state's top judge called for a "policy summit" on sentences in South Carolina, citing exploding prison populations nationwide.Sentencing in the United States is a national disgrace,Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal said Wednesday in her annual speech to the South Carolina, General Assembly.The state's corrections director, lawmakers and others greeted the proposal favorably, though they offered different solutions.
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Posted by: davidjones | Nov 14, 2008 6:16:32 PM

i feel your pain, iserved 5 years of a 25 year sentence, thank the lord my family had the funds to hire me a good attorney..iwon my pcr hearing ,the state appealed, but after going over the case they dismissed it and remaned it back to the lower court for a new trial in which i can prove the misconduct, fraud upon the court,and entrapment. its been 3 years and they werent going to do nothing until i filed a civil suit for wrongful conviction, false inprisonment,thats amiscarrage of justice..

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Posted by: roger arbogast | Apr 5, 2011 2:57:10 AM

Whoever said that mark was loving and good with children is crazy. I also knew this man very well. He told me on several occasions that he hated kids. He was a compulsive liar. I did meet Brandi on one occasion and she seemed like a nice girl, but mark is a monster. I did not get a chance to meet the child, but I have seen mark's rage before. He is the one to blame, and he is where he needs to be.

Posted by: Me | Aug 2, 2011 6:07:42 PM

Brandi Lynn Holder is innocent!! I have known Brandi since both of us were 5 years old and we both are now 31 years old. We were unseparable up through high school, but we would still talk on occasion after high school. She loved her son, Bo. She would never hurt him. She wasn't even home while the actions took place, she was at work! How can they give her 25 years for being at work while her son was being murdered? They never even gave her a fair trial, it was rush and go. The court systems in SC are so messed up, they let the innocent serve time and they let the guilty party walk free. Ben, Marie..if you see this I want you both to know that I know Brandi is innocent and I love you two!

Posted by: Amy Gamble | Feb 28, 2013 10:09:01 PM

I cannot believe that South Carolina has allowed such a conviction. If that girl was not home when her son was being murdered, she should NEVER be facing what she is facing. I can see the state penalizing her for allowing someone else to harm her child, not 25 years worth though. I also know of a case where the mother was gone to work and left her children home with her boyfriend. Her two boys were beaten severly. The youngest son died. That mother did not serve a second in prison. She was never questioned and the family moved on. I dont know how the laws change from county to county so drastically. It is terrible and my heart goes out to the family. No mother should ever have to go through something like this. No child should either. I cannot even fathom the thought that they let a child killer walk free. Whomever did it will pay in the end. I hope that the family gets a good attorney somewhere along the lines and goes after the state for doing this to a mother who lost a child. That should go along with a great penalty against lawmakers across the state.
I cannot even imagine the monstrosity of the entire situation. I wish this family all the best.

Posted by: BrandiC | Oct 8, 2013 3:02:14 PM

Hey I have heard some talk about the 85% law in South Carolina getting changed? Has any one else heard that and if so how can I find out if this is true?

Posted by: Lynn Hollar | Apr 7, 2015 5:26:22 PM

Free brandi Turner she's a very nice girl and talk about bo all the time she loves her son so much it kills her every day

Posted by: Karen carnard | Jun 9, 2015 12:43:26 AM

Is it true , that the south carolina department of corrections has changed their 85% to 65% ? I heard it was on the news tonight . I know there are a lot of new changes that went into effect on july 1st . If anyone knows please let me know

Posted by: Sandra johnson | Jul 5, 2015 10:22:08 PM

She's innocent i know her she's going through it. losing her son hurts her everyday

Posted by: Karen | Sep 12, 2015 4:18:00 PM

I'm just a parent and someone who believes the 85% law should be changed. There are people serving time and sentenced to 15,20,30,40 years for drugs. That have families and could be out taking care of their families instead of the state taking care of them . I don't think that a drug crime should be considered violent unless you were in possession of a weapon and have done harm to someone while in possession of it. These people have been sentenced like they are the drug cartel themselves. The drug Cartel probably would get that much time let's face it the war on drugs didn't work, never has and when the government finally admits it maybe they will change these drug laws. We need a better way of helping people other than locking them up and throwing away the key. Prison sentences this long hurt people to the point they have no hope, they don't see theirselves leaving there ever. Mandatory minimums need to be changed also and put the sentencing back in the hands of the judges not the solicitors. Sentencing is part of what a judge should determine and asking the to sign plea agreements should be against the law because that's where they hang these people, they feel they have no choice but, to take it or get sentenced to more time. I do not think drugs should be a violent crime. Most of these people are addicts and doing things to support their habit nothing more.

Posted by: Tammy Adler | Jun 23, 2023 4:48:53 AM

My name is Tammy Adler and I am for the reduction of the 85% sentencing and no mandatory minimums.

Posted by: Tammy Adler | Jun 23, 2023 4:50:36 AM

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