Holman receives life sentence in toddler's death

Kyle Phillips / The Transcript

Jake Holman is escorted to District Judge Jeff Virgin's courtroom to be sentenced Friday at the Cleveland County Courthouse. Holman received a life sentence without the chance of parole in the death of 20-month-old Maddox Abner.

Michelle Cox expressed outrage toward the man who murdered her grandson by telling him during a sentencing hearing, "there is no telling what he endured at your hands."

Cox made her remarks as part of a victim impact statement that was read aloud Friday before Cleveland County District Judge Jeff Virgin.

After hearing from two family members of the 20-month-old victim and attorneys from both sides, Virgin followed the jury's recommendation and ordered Jake Holman to spend the rest of his life in prison without the chance of parole. Holman, dressed in an orange county jail jumpsuit with feet and hands shackled, showed no emotions during the hearing.

The jury agreed with prosecutors that Holman stomped Maddox Abner to death, causing his liver and pancreas to break apart. Holman was convicted Nov. 18 when a jury spent about an hour in deliberations.

During Friday's hearing, Cox told Holman, "The enormity of your actions are hard to put into words. We are the victim of your rage and jealousy."

Holman was dating the child's mother, Cydney Cox, when the boy died. Trial testimony showed Holman killed the boy sometime late Feb. 4 or early Feb. 5, 2017, as the child's mother slept. Defense attorneys tried to portray Cydney Cox as the killer and a parent who ignored her child.

"You stole him from us," Michelle Cox said during her impact statement. "You killed my grandson, my only grandchild. I haven't heard my name called from his lips because of you....You ended everything for us. He was not yours to take."

Cydney Cox was not present at Friday's sentencing.

Holman did not make any statements to the judge or provide his version of events during a pre-sentence investigation conducted by the Department of Corrections. Holman's attorney, Cindy Viol, continued to attack the Norman police investigation as she did during the trial. She also told the judge "there's equally enough evidence that his mother did it."

Michelle Cox recalled loading boxes of the child's clothes and shoes after he was killed and placing them in a storage unit "where they remain today."

Assistant District Attorney SuAnne Carlson told the judge, "it's hard to imagine the brutality Maddox suffered." In addition to the lacerated liver and pancreas, the toddler suffered multiple blows to the head.

"The evidence shows Maddox was stomped on," the prosecutor said. "The level of brutality is unfathomable and the jury obviously agreed with us."

Carlson noted that Holman has never accepted responsibility or expressed remorse for the boy's death.

"My client has not expressed remorse for something he didn't do," Viol said.

Viol informed the judge Holman intends to appeal the verdict and sentence.

Tim Farley

366-3539

tfarley@normantranscript.com

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