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Life without parole for killer of Plano man

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Collin County District Attorney

​Christopher James Holder, 31, received a life sentence without the possibility of parole after a jury found him guilty of capital murder, announced Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis

On Nov. 11, 2012, Plano police discovered Bill Tanner’s lifeless body in his East Plano home. Tanner had been beaten and also sustained 20 stab wounds. It also appeared to officers that the killer had attempted to burn Tanner’s house to conceal evidence.

Detective Beth Spillman soon developed a suspect: Holder. At one time, Holder was the boyfriend of Tanner’s adult stepdaughter and lived in Tanner’s house with the step-daughter and her young children. In late October 2012, at the request of Tanner’s step-daughter, Tanner asked Holder to move out.

Holder had few options when he left the Tanner household. Testimony showed that he worked sporadically, did not have a place to live, and used methamphetamine heavily. On the day of Tanner’s death, cell phone records put Holder in the area of Tanner’s house. DNA evidence also linked Holder to the house on the day of the murder.

At trial, Thomas Uselton, Holder’s former friend, testified that Holder brought him to Tanner’s house during the early morning hours of Nov. 11, 2012. Uselton saw Tanner’s dead body and Holder said it was because he molested a little girl. Child Protective Services and police investigated the concerns, but found no evidence that any inappropriate activity had occurred between Tanner and his step-granddaughter.

Uselton testified that Holder wanted Uselton’s help to clean the crime scene and move Tanner’s body. Uselton refused to help move the body so Holder attempted to burn the house down to conceal the evidence, and the two men fled in Tanner’s vehicle.

Assistant Criminal District Attorneys Cynthia Walker and Wes Wynne prosecuted the case, aided by District Attorney Investigators J.D. Spielman and Mike Smith. District Judge Chris Oldner presided over the case.