Bossier District Judge Mike Nerren today shut down the second degree murder trial of Christopher Holder just before four this afternoon, following what he called an “outburst” by the defendant.
The prosecution and defense agreed to stop court early, as Nerren suggested testimony might be interrupted if another witness was called and court concluded at its regular time. In addition, the judge said the early dismissal would “give Mr. Holder the opportunity to relax.”
Testimony will resume at 9 tomorrow morning.
Holder is on trial in the November 2011 death of his mother, Dr. Donna Holder, who he confessed to stabbing multiple times in the bedroom of the home he shared with her in the upscale Stonebridge neighborhood in Bossier. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
The judge called a 10-minute recess around 3:20 this afternoon, following the testimony of Dr. Lee Stevens, psychiatrist who treated the defendant when he was brought to then LSU Hospital in Shreveport by Bossier police in 2009, after a neighbor called about him banging on her door at 4 a.m.
Throughout the four-day trial, the defendant has appeared to be somewhat agitated, slowly rocking back and forth in his chair, and often appearing to be having a silent conversation, but not focusing on anyone in the courtroom. Today that behavior was more pronounced, and he appeared to be looking at some documents of some sort, but he wasn’t making any sounds that could be heard by spectators.
With the jury still out on recess, Nerren went back on the bench. Christopher Holder and defense attorney Rick Fayard, as well as Schuyler Marvin, district attorney and Allie Aiello, assistant district attorney stood facing the judge.
Nerren addressed the defendant, explaining he didn’t know what occurred because he was focusing on the witness testifying, but “obviously something happened in the defense area…I don’t know what the outburst was – I didn’t hear it.”
The judge told Holder he wanted him to be in court, wanted him to aid in his own defense, but he was warning him that if he had to remove him, he would.
Today’s admonition wasn’t the first in the trial. Wednesday, Nerren put a gag order on all witnesses until the conclusion of the trial.