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Cops and Courts

Murder trial, day 3: Witness says Elliott Kirkland sought alibi

  • Kirkland-trial-3-jpg

    Elliott Kirkland sits in Lorain County Common Pleas Court on Thursday during his trial in the murder of Jimmie Holland Jr.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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    Elliott Kirkland sits in Lorain County Common Pleas Court on Thursday during his trial in the murder of Jimmie Holland Jr.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

  • Kirkland-trial-2-jpg

    Elliott Kirkland sits in Lorain County Common Pleas Court on Thursday during his trial in the murder of Jimmie Holland Jr.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

  • Kirkland-trial-4-jpg

    Elliott Kirkland sits in Lorain County Common Pleas Court with his attorney, Kenneth Lieux, on Thursday during his trial in the murder of Jimmie Holland Jr.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — Hours after Jimmie Holland Jr.’s body was found, Elliot Kirkland texted his girlfriend, “I might need an alibi.”

The girlfriend, Valencia LeSure, testified that about 2 p.m. Aug. 29, 2016, Kirkland sent her a series of text messages.

“Call me as soon as possible. It’s an emergency,” LeSure read from a transcript. “I might need an alibi. I got there at 9.”

Thursday was the third day of testimony in the capital murder trial of Kirkland, 28, of Lorain, who prosecutors say shot Holland three times early Aug. 29, 2016, and left him to bleed to death. Kirkland faces aggravated murder charges and, if convicted, could be sentenced to death.

LeSure took the stand Thursday afternoon and told the jury she had been dating Kirkland for about six to eight months prior to the slaying of Holland. Prosecutors walked LeSure through transcripts of conversations she had with Kirkland via text message in the hours before Holland’s death and the following day.

LeSure told prosecutors that Kirkland had asked her to tell police that he’d been at her residence from 9 p.m. Aug. 28 until 9 a.m. Aug. 29. He also asked her to tell police she never knew him to have a phone number that started with 258.

Hours after police found the body of Holland in his apartment, they spoke with LeSure about Kirkland. She admitted to prosecutors that at first she lied to them.

“I told them that he was there from 9 to 9,” she testified. “That wasn’t true. I didn’t know how serious it was.”

When she found out police suspected Kirkland was involved in a homicide, she said she decided to come clean.

Phone transcripts also showed that Kirkland had texted other people about borrowing their car for the day. At one point, Kirkland offered $100 to an unknown person to use their car for the day.

Willie Jones said he had known Kirkland for three to four months prior to the incident. On the afternoon of Aug. 29, Kirkland sent Jones a text message asking for a ride to Cleveland.

Jones said Kirkland told him he needed to go there because of “something with his mother.” Jones testified that he agreed to take Kirkland to an RTA station in North Olmsted, so he could take a bus the rest of the way to Cleveland.

Police arrested Kirkland in East Cleveland later in the day Aug. 29. When police arrested him he had a phone, an all-day RTA bus pass and a set of keys on him.

Testimony has said that Kirkland, Mark Sanchez, Jasmine Schafer and Latrice Thomas went to the Ninth Street apartment with the intention of robbing Holland, who was known as a drug dealer who had a large sum of cash on him.

Sanchez testified that he and Kirkland entered Holland’s apartment while the victim was sleeping. When Holland woke up, he and Kirkland struggled and Kirkland shot Holland multiple times, took a bag full of cash and ran from the apartment.

Testimony in the trial is set to resume Tuesday morning.

Contact Scott Mahoney at (440) 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.


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