…but, does ANYONE else know the truth?!?
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, TX- On Wednesday, 435th District Judge Patty McGinnis sentenced a Porter man to 10 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for his role in the death of his friend. Even now that the case is settled, the truth is unclear. Part of the reason there may never be clarity is only two people were present. One died, and the other has repeatedly changed his story.
Frank Norton Holland III, 22, was charged with killing Jaden Defee on May 3, 2022. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call after someone reported a shooting at Holland’s home in the 21500 block of Rio Valley Court in Porter. Defee was pronounced dead on the scene.
According to the Complaint by MCSO Detective T. Lambert, the fatal bullet entered the left side of the victim’s face, as he sat in an office chair by the front door.
Holland was on location when first responders arrived, and a handgun with a spent casing in the chamber was near the body. The Complaint says Holland explained the death as an accident that occurred while the victim, who he described as his friend, was playing with it. Holland claimed he was walking down the stairs and saw Defee pointing the gun at his own head, prompting him to warn Defee not to do that because the gun was loaded. Holland claimed the victim argued that the gun was not loaded, and to prove his point, he pulled the trigger, firing the lethal shot. Holland said he had picked up the gun from the floor where it fell when fired, and placed it on a nearby table.
Holland further stated he had fired the gun earlier that day while the pair were in a nearby wooded area, but was adamant he had not fired the shot that killed Defee. He even showed Det. Lambert cellphone video of the two men taking turns holding the gun and ejecting the magazine to demonstrate it was a functional firearm.
Defee’s body was transported to the Montgomery County Forensic Center for autopsy. The Forensic Pathologist concluded the death was a homicide.
In July 2022, Detective McClintock spoke with a woman who knew both men and provided a statement saying Holland confessed to her that he shot Defee. Seven days later, Detective Michael Burnett interviewed Holland regarding the death and was told the cellphone videos were prompted by a disagreement the two men were having with a third party. He then claimed as he was walking down the stairs, Defee repeatedly told him to “blow it” which meant to dry fire the weapon. He claimed grabbed what he believed to be an unloaded handgun, pointed it at Defee, and pulled the trigger. Holland conceded he should have checked the gun to make sure it was empty before firing.
Holland told Detective McClintock he tried to shake Defee, but saw he wasn’t breathing and knew he was already dead. Holland called 911 and then, he said, he rolled the dead man and the chair where he died, from the carpet to the floor. Holland said when police arrived, he was afraid of being arrested, so he lied. He also admitted he lied about shooting the gun earlier, because he knew gunshot residue would be found on his hands. Holland further admitted that he was responsible for loading the gun, and “it was reckless to fail to ensure that the gun would not fire.”
On July 27, 2022, 359th District Judge Kathleen Hamilton signed a warrant for Holland’s arrest for Manslaughter, a second-degree felony, with a bond recommendation of $30,000. In the end, Holland waived his right to a jury trial and pleaded guilty to Manslaughter before Judge McGinnis. She gave Holland credit for time served. As of this posting, he is in the Montgomery County Jail awaiting transfer to state prison.