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Ex-Convict Found With Friend's Severed Head In Stolen Truck Sentenced To 18 Years

Eric Holland was sentenced to at least 18 years in prison for the murder and dismemberment of his friend Richard Miller, whose remains were found in a stolen truck driven by Holland.

By Cydney Contreras
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

An ex-convict who was found with the dismembered corpse of a friend in the back of the stolen vehicle he was driving at the time of his arrest has been sentenced to at least 18 years in prison. 

On Thursday, Eric John Holland, 58, was sentenced to between 18 to 45 years for the November 2021 death and dismemberment of Richard Miller, 65. Holland had previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with a deadly weapon in July.

During the sentencing, Holland told Clark County District Court Judge Tierra Jones that he had planned to tell her why he shot Miller in the head before dismembering him, but didn't want to anymore since Miller's family was in the court. 

"It’s a terrible thing that has happened, and I’m just so sorry," Holland said, adding that he's "truly remorseful," according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal

RELATED: Police Arrest Man In Las Vegas After Finding Severed Head In The Bed Of His Pickup Truck

Holland was arrested Dec. 23, 2021, following a police chase that saw him change cars — both of which were stolen — and throw an assortment of items at officers. When the chase came to an end, police discovered Miller's dismembered remains, including his head, in coolers in the bed of the truck. 

Authorities later discovered that the body belonged to Miller, a friend of Holland who had been reported missing a month prior. 

Eric Holland Pd

Holland told investigators that he shot Miller in the chest and head during a confrontation in which Holland questioned Miller about his ex-wife Jing Mei Zhu's whereabouts. Following the killing, Holland told the Review-Journal, he dismembered the corpse with the intention of burying it.

Holland told the Review-Journal that he began to suspect Miller had killed Zhu when they were cleaning out Miller's houseboat and he found her personal belongings, as well as a bloodied shirt.  

According to the Review-Journal, the divorce between Miller and Zhu was finalized in 2019, and Miller was granted ownership of Henderson, Nevada home when Zhu couldn't be located by someone attempting to serve a court summons. Miller wrote in court documents reviewed by the Journal that Zhu had left him and returned to China.

"I can tell you that Eric believes that she is dead and Richard killed her," Holland’s attorney, David Westbrook, told the Review-Journal in a phone interview on Wednesday. "He believes that very strongly."

According to the Review-Journal, the Las Vegas Police Department said there's no missing person case in connection with Zhu.

Miller's daughter, Amanda Dawn Potter, spoke at the hearing, stating that Holland's guilty plea offered "little relief."

"This is the most bizarre thing that’s ever happened to my family, and I don’t know how to make sense of it," she told the judge. 

Potter told the Review-Journal that she doesn't believe Holland's accusations.

Westbrook said that Holland could be wrong about Miller harming Zhu, but indicated that Holland told police about his concerns after he entered a guilty plea.

"He might be wrong that Richard killed Jing Mei Zhu. Only time will tell on that,” Westbrook told the Journal. “But you can’t question his motivation, because he’s not getting anything for this. He has no reason to make this up.”

Holland, who has an extensive criminal record, told the journal of his motivations, "I’m going to prison for the rest of my life, and I just want to make sure that she wasn’t forgotten."

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