A Centerville woman who is charged in the death of her former husband and severe injures of her son was ordered to spend 90 days in the Utah State Prison diagnostic unit before being sentenced in 2nd District Court.
Rebecca W. Holt, 39, 355 E. 825 North, pleaded no contest in April to charges of manslaughter in the death of her former husband, Walter A. Todd, 65, and to attempted manslaughter in the injuries suffered by her son, Richard A. Todd, 19.She admitted to Judge Douglas L Cornaby in a plea negotiation with the Davis County Attorney's Office that she deliberately crashed the car she was driving on I-15 on Jan. 11 into a semitrailer truck in an attempt to kill herself, her former husband and her son.
Holt has been in counseling since the incident and defense attorney Terry Cathcart Tuesday recommended to the judge that she be put on probation and be allowed to continue her treatment.
But Cornaby said although he acknowledges Holt has problems and was acting under mental duress during the incident, he believes she needs some kind of incarceration or confinement, at least temporarily.
Her action on Jan. 11 endangered innocent members of the community and could have had far more tragic consequences than just the death of her former husband in the permanent injuries suffered by her son, the judge said.
According to court records, Holt was despondent over what she perceived as the failure of her second marriage, compounded by problems between her former husband and handicapped son.
According to prosecutor Carvel Harward, Holt loaded Walter and Richard Todd into her car on the afternoon of Jan. 11 and drove onto the freeway at Centerville. She drove south at high speed and near North Salt Lake, aimed the car at the truck, trying to drive under it.
The truck struck the car, pushing it off the highway. No other vehicles were involved. Walter Todd was severely injured and died in February, according to Harward, and Richard Todd's previous condition was worsened by his injuries. Holt recovered from minor injuries.
Holt was originally charged with manslaughter and attempted homicide, both second-degree felonies. She pleaded no contest to manslaughter and attempted manslaughter, a third-degree felony, and Harward agreed to treat the two charges as a single criminal episode, recommending concurrent rather than consecutive prison sentences.
Although Holt's mental health counselors recommend probation, others involved in the incident - the truck driver, the Utah Highway Patrol trooper who investigated the accident and Walter Todd's other surviving son - recommended prison, according to an Adult Probation and Parole report.
Cornaby ordered Holt into the diagnostic unit and set a new sentencing date for Aug. 15.