ALFRED, Maine — Defiant to the end, a Biddeford man who fatally shot two brothers during a late-night confrontation proclaimed his innocence before being given two life sentences Monday, even suggesting his victims got what was coming and that “the Lord” approved of their deaths.
Rory Holland, 57, maintained he feared for his life and acted in self-defense, telling the judge that the victims, 19-year-old Gage Green and his 21-year-old brother, Derek, were drunken instigators and were responsible for their own deaths when he shot them outside his house at about 1 a.m. on June 30, 2009.
Speaking in the open courtroom on his own behalf before he was sentenced, Holland opened with a prayer.
“Blessed be the Lord, the true judge, who justly gave Derek and Gage Green their death,” Holland said. He then told York County Superior Court Justice Roland Cole that he wanted to be sentenced to death; Maine does not have a death penalty.
Holland’s remarks prompted the victims’ mother and others to get up and leave the courtroom. When Cole adjourned the proceeding after later sentencing Holland, the group of about 60 spectators broke into applause.
Outside of the courthouse, Tammy Cole said she and others derived “awesome satisfaction” that Holland received the maximum sentence allowed for killing her sons.
“He’s going, he’s dying there,” she said. “I don’t care if it takes 10 years or 75. All I know is that man’s not coming out.”
Holland was convicted in November of two counts of murder by jurors in Bangor, where the trial was moved because of pretrial publicity in Biddeford. Holland was well-known around town for being a regular fixture at City Council meetings, twice running for mayor and claiming he was a victim of racism. Holland is black in a city that is overwhelmingly white.
Over the years, Holland has been involved in numerous lawsuits and has faced several criminal charges, including assault, trespassing and contempt of court. In the late 1970s he served a two-year sentence for trying to kill his 16-month-old daughter while living in Kansas.
Defense lawyer Clifford Strike on Monday urged the judge to impose a sentence of no more than 30 years in prison saying the case was akin to manslaughter, not murder. But Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese sought life sentences, calling the shootings a case of premeditated murder by a man who has shown no remorse.
Before the sentencing hearing began, Holland on a separate motion argued that the facts failed to support his conviction.
To make his point, Holland drew an elaborate diagram on a chalkboard and explained how he couldn’t have fired the shot that killed Derek Green based on the trail of blood, eyewitness statements and where Green fell to the ground. He used trigonometry and quoted from the Bible, and went so far as to suggest a second, unknown person fired the fatal shot.
During the sentencing hearing, nine people took turns at the microphone telling the judge how they had been hurt by the killings.
Tammy Cole said she was a smiling and happy person before her sons were killed. But she now has a tough time getting out of bed, rarely ventures out and suffers from depression and panic attacks. She feels guilty when she laughs and is a shell of her former self.
“My heart is broken and cannot be fixed,” she said.
In a loud rambling monologue, Holland portrayed himself as a victim of racism over the years, saying people wrote racial slurs on his property, paraded around in Ku Klux Klan outfits outside his home, destroyed his cars and tried to burn down his home. He lectured the Greens’ friends who were in the courtroom, saying they needed to sort out their lives and “mend their ways.” He quoted from Shakespeare.
But he said he took no pleasure in the Greens’ deaths.
“I take no satisfaction in the death of any other human being, even two foolish, drunken, inebriated young men,” he said.
Justice Cole eventually cut off Holland and later called his conduct “outrageous.” He questioned whether Holland was using his words to inflict even more pain on the victims’ friends and family members.
The shootings were clearly premeditated, Cole said, saying the shooting of the second brother had the signs of an execution.
“It’s clear that he intended to do harm that night,” he said.