James Louis Holland will not face a second death penalty in Idaho, the Idaho Supreme Court says.
The court on Tuesday issued a brief order to 6th District Judge William Woodland, Pocatello, to accept a guilty plea from Holland for a freeway slaying in Oneida County. The order means Woodland may not sentence Holland to death.Holland, 48, already is under death sentence in Utah for a killing that originated at the same I-84 freeway rest stop in Oneida County, just north of Utah. The case is on appeal to the Utah Supreme Court.
In September, he pleaded guilty in the Idaho case under a plea-bargain agreement that he would not get the death penalty.
But in December, during a sentencing hearing, Woodland declared that he decided to reject the plea agreement and ordered Holland to go to trial.
His public defender, Patricia McDermott of Pocatello, appealed to the Supreme Court on grounds that Woodland must accept the original guilty plea, and the court agreed on Tuesday.
The court did not elaborate, in a brief ruling signed by Chief Justice Allan Shepard.