ANDERSON — An Indianapolis man already serving two life sentences without parole has asked the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office to file a death penalty case.
Tommy P. Holland, 45, is charged with murder in the stabbing of Clifford Baggett at the Pendleton Correctional Facility on Aug. 9, 2019.
Holland appeared in Madison Circuit Court Division 3 on Tuesday and rejected a plea agreement in which he would have pleaded guilty to murder and received a third life sentence without parole.
Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said Holland told Judge Andrew Hopper he wanted the death penalty.
Cummings said Holland said that he “will continue to drop bodies until you give me the death penalty.”
Cummings said he will think about filing a death penalty case against Holland but is leaning to not take that legal action.
“I don’t want to spend the county’s money,” he said. “If there is no trial it would cost about $50,000. A trial and the appeals could cost $750,000. It’s not an appropriate way to spend taxpayer dollars.”
Cummings said the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed every death penalty case it has heard over the past 11 years.
Holland is currently at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City.
“He will serve another year in segregation and then be returned to the general population,” Cummings said. “I have contacted the prosecutor in LaPorte County of a potential problem and am writing to the Department of Correction for them to exercise reasonable caution to prevent his (Holland) access to other inmates, nurses and correctional officers.”
Cummings said he has had people in the past request the death penalty but they ultimately change their minds.
Bryan Williams, Holland’s attorney, said his client made a statement to the court requesting the death penalty despite against his advice.
Williams confirmed that Holland said in court that he would “keep bringing bodies” back until he receives the death penalty.
“In 27 years as a defense attorney I’ve never had that happen before,” he said. “Without question, he was serious about the request.”
Williams said Holland is very respectful of everybody involved in the criminal justice system.
He is requesting that Holland undergo an evaluation to determine if he is competent.
“I believe he will be found competent,” Williams said. “He will be a problem for the Department of Correction.”
Surveillance video captured Baggett’s death in cell block H, according to an affidavit of probable cause by Master Trooper Jeff Carmin of the Indiana State Police.
Holland is seen entering the cell block and holding something near his waistband, according to the affidavit.
Carmin said Holland walks back and forth as if looking for something or someone and then stops behind a stairwell. Baggett opens a door in front of the stairwell where Holland had stopped and he is then attacked, according to the affidavit.
“The video then shows the suspect pull a weapon from his waistband and attack the victim at first in the back and then several times in the body as the victim falls to the floor before DOC guards are able to separate the suspect from the victim,” Carmin wrote.
During the autopsy, Carmin said 10 “sharp force injuries” were located on Baggett’s upper right arm, right underarm, right ear, right neck, right chest, left chest, left forearm, left palm, lower back and buttocks.
Holland was previously convicted in Marion County in 2015 for the murders of employees at a Mars Hill supermarket and a Marathon gas station. The Marion County Sheriff’s Department believes Holland is a suspect in two other slayings in that county.