Erik Hollie v. State – Hollie was convicted of murdering a Wesson Mississippi pawn shop owner because the Lord told him to do so. Two days before that, Hollie had argued with an Indian gas station employee about religion. The next day, armed with a knife, he robbed the store of a pack of cigarettes and $30 worth of gas. And on the third day, he walked into the pawn shop, killed its owner and took several handguns.
Shortly after the murder, Hollie turned himself in and confessed to both the armed robbery and the capital murder. The trial judge appointed an attorney to represent Hollie, and he filed a motion for a mental evaluation. A state doctor evaluated Hollie, but before a competency hearing was held, Hollie pleaded guilty to both crimes. The trial judge accepted the guilty pleas without any adjudication on Hollie’s mental status.
At sentencing, Hollie put on no mitigating evidence, and he specifically instructed his attorney to put on no defense. The only thing before the jury from the defense was Hollie’s own statement to the jury, which was just one sentence. “I ask that you let the Lord deal with me and sentence me to death.” The jury did just that.
He didn’t file an appeal of a pcr and is before the Court on its mandatory review of Hollie’s death sentence. The court vacates the plea and remands for a competency determination.
As noted above, the trial court ordered a mental evaluation of Hollie regarding his armed-robbery charge. The evaluation was conducted, but no hearingwas held. Nevertheless, the trial court accepted Hollie’s guilty plea to armed robbery, which subsequently was used as the aggravating factor in his death-penalty sentencing phase. Ordering the mental evaluation, but failing to hold the mandatory hearing on the matter is reversible error. Smith, 149 So. 3d at 1035. As a result, we reverse Hollie’s conviction for armed robbery as well and vacate that sentence. This case is remanded to the trial court to determine Hollie’s competence to stand trial. See Smith, 149 So. 3d at 1035; Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-105(6) (Supp. 2014).