Judge keeps mom accused in child's death in jail

Date: 2010-10-29
Source: qctimes.com

MAQUOKETA, Iowa - A woman accused of contributing to the death of her 4-year-old adopted son will have to stay in jail until her trial, a judge ruled Friday.
Jackson County District Judge Marlita Greve denied a request to reduce Danielle Holdgrafer's bond and release her from jail to stay with family members or a friend while she awaits trial.

Holdgrafer has been held in Jones County Jail since June, when she was accused of killing Collin Holdgrafer in their apartment in Andrew. At that time, she was charged with first-degree murder, child endangerment resulting in death and two counts of child endangerment resulting in bodily injury. Her husband, Andy Holdgrafer, was charged with child endangerment, but he died of a heart problem last month while out on release.

Jackson County Attorney Chris Raker asked that the murder charges be dropped earlier this month and a judge agreed. The child endangerment charges remain.

Holdgrafer is being held on $200,000 cash bond. The judge said she would not reduce the bond, nor allow Holdgrafer out of jail. A trial date has not been set.

"I'm surprised the bond isn't higher," Greve said. "I was just appointed to this case. But if I had been the judge at the beginning, I would have made the bond higher. I'm not going to lower the bond, based on the serious nature of the crimes."

Holdgrafer's appointed attorney, Phil Ramirez, put two people on the stand during the bond hearing who said Holdgrafer could live with them. A third person, Holdgrafer's sister, asked to be considered but did not take the stand.

Holdgrafer's mother, Pamela Brown, said her daughter could live with her in Cedar Rapids. Under questioning from the county attorney, Brown said she is on disability and has substance abuse and mental health problems. She said her daughter, Shantelle Albert, also is unemployed and has three children ages 12, 14 and 17.

Raker asked Brown if she had been estranged from her daughter, Danielle. Brown said they were apart for two years and got back together "when Collin died." She said it was the same with her other daughter.

Another possible candidate for Holdgrafer to live with was Linda Davidson of rural Maquoketa. She said she met Holdgrafer in 2009 and Holdgrafer's horses are at her farm. Davidson said her daughter and 9-year-old granddaughter live with her. Davidson said she had been trying to get Holdgrafer's four children, who are under foster care, to live with her "but they (DHS) won't return my calls so I don't know what's going on."

Raker said Holdgrafer has been ordered not have to contact with her children - one adopted and three of her own - ages 7-12 and her parental rights are in the process of being terminated. Holdgrafer had tried to contact "one of the (child endangerment) victims who is still alive" from jail in violation of the juvenile court order, Raker said.

The county attorney also said Holdgrafer has been diagnosed with several mental-health problems. Holdgrafer's attorney said she could get treatment on an outpatient basis if she's released.

Ramirez asked for the bond to be reduced to $25,000 with a 10 percent bond payment allowed and be under supervised release.

"She has a place to go. Her family has rallied around her," Ramirez said.

Raker called the family ties "tenuous."

"I find it alarming she could possibly be placed in a household with children where these crimes could be repeated," Raker said. "She's a danger to herself and others."

The judge said she was "not impressed" with the witnesses.

"I would not put her with them because it could cause them to have more problems," Greve said. "I am uncomfortable for her to be in any setting where there would be children. It's not appropriate until this case is resolved. Whether she is safe from herself or the community, she's lost her husband and children. It's enough to put anyone over the edge."

When Greve announced her decision, several family members cried out. Greve asked them to leave the courtroom.

Holdgrafer, who was wearing an orange prison jump suit, with wrist and ankle shackles, expressed no emotion when the judge denied her release.

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