A Gold Coast man strangled his live-in mother and then drove to downstate Dwight with the elderly woman’s dead body in the front passenger seat of his car, Cook County prosecutors said Wednesday.
Juanita Holliman, 81, is believed to have been killed in the apartment she shared with her son, Marc Holliman, in the 100 block of West Delaware Place, about 5 a.m. Monday, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.
Before her body was discovered later that day, Marc Holliman, 53, went to a Dwight gas station and reported that he was robbed and having a “personal emergency,” Murphy said.
When an officer arrived at the gas station and spoke with him, he said he no longer needed help.
But when the officer returned to his squad car, Holliman, holding a pair of scissors, asked the officer if he would shoot if he ran toward him with the scissors over his head, Murphy said.
Holliman allegedly said he was “just grieving” as the officer tried to calm him down.
Holliman eventually got back into his car and drove to another gas station across the street. Then, every few minutes, he continued to move his car between the two gas stations until he drove up to the officer’s vehicle and got out, Murphy said.
Holliman, who was bleeding from his wrists, went on to repeatedly ask that officer and his colleagues to shoot him, Murphy said.
Holliman told officers they could turn off his car’s ignition and lock it while he was taken to a hospital. But when the officers got to the car, they found the victim’s body under a cardboard box in the front passenger seat, Murphy said. Holliman was arrested at the scene.
The Grundy County coroner’s office ruled the senior citizen’s death a homicide and said results of the autopsy “support strangulation.”
Holliman may have used a cane found in the Gold Coast apartment to press against his mother’s throat to cut off her air supply, Murphy said.
Surveillance cameras near the residence captured Holliman placing a “heavy object” wrapped in a bed sheet in his car before he drove away Monday, Murphy said.
Holliman was allegedly recorded on other surveillance cameras driving around downtown. One camera equipped with a heat sensor detected Juanita Holliman’s body inside the car at the time, Murphy said.
Holliman allegedly admitted to killing his mother to paramedics and detectives.
“He indicated [his mother] was in pain, was sick and asked him to kill her,” Murphy said.
But Marc Holliman’s sister, who often texted her mother and visited Chicago last month, said her mother never had suicidal tendencies nor indicated that she wanted to die, Murphy added.
No suicide note was found inside the residence, Murphy said.
Holliman may have been stealing from his mother’s bank accounts, Murphy said, saying there were notes found between the pair about Holliman forging checks.
Holliman’s lawyer disputed he was stealing from his mother, saying he likely used the funds to support her.
“It appears this may have been preceded by a COVID-related medical procedure, the defense attorney added, referencing an unspecified treatment his client received on June 4. “He started deteriorating mentally, drastically, and may have gotten to the point of a psychotic episode.”
Holliman is a college graduate but has never been employed, his lawyer said.
“This is a hard call,” Judge Arthur Wesley Willis said before ordering Holliman held on $500,000 bail for murder and concealment of a homicidal death.
“This is a horrible crime. But at this time I can’t say his release would pose a real and present threat to any person or persons.”
If Holliman is able to post bond, the judge recommended he be placed on electronic monitoring and only be allowed to travel for medical and mental health treatments.
Holliman was also ordered not to have contact with his sister while awaiting trial.
He is expected back in court July 20.