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Grand jury indicts Edward Holley, accusing him of second-degree murder in Megan McDonald case

Holley was first arrested in the case in 2023 but subsequently released because “protocol wasn’t followed.”
Megan McDonald
Megan McDonald

UPDATE 2/2/2024: Holley was arraigned on February 2, 2024. His attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Holley was taken into custody and will be back in court on February 21. If convicted, Holley faces 25 years to life in prison. 


On Monday, January 29, 2024, an Orange County grand jury indicted Edward Holley, accusing him of second-degree murder in the 2003 death of Megan McDonald. 

Megan’s body was found on a narrow dirt path nearly 21 years ago -- on March 15, 2003, in Wallkill, New York. The cause of death was blunt force trauma. Dateline featured Megan’s story in its Cold Case Spotlight series in March of 2022.  

Holley had been arrested in connection to the case in April of 2023, one month after the 20th anniversary of Megan’s death. At the time he was incarcerated in an unrelated case. However, a week later, he was released from custody because his sentence had been served in that case and Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said protocol wasn’t followed in the McDonald case. 

Hoovler stepped away from the case and a special prosecutor, Julia Cornachio, was assigned to take over. Dateline spoke with her briefly and she confirmed Holley was indicted Monday. Cornachio also told Dateline that Holley’s arraignment has been scheduled for the morning of Friday, February 2. She did not have any further comment on the case. 

Megan McDonald
Megan McDonald

The family of Megan McDonald released a statement through their attorney, John Beatty. It stated that they are “gratified and relieved” to hear that the grand jury indicted Holley. “The family has been waiting for justice for twenty years and is grateful to the hardworking New York State Police and the special prosecutors appointed to present the evidence,” the statement reads. They also express their gratitude to the grand jury for their “hard work and dedication to hearing the evidence in this case.” 

They are hopeful that the judicial process will “continue to progress fairly and impartially” and that “Edward Holley will be held justly accountable for his actions.”

Holley has denied the allegations of his involvement in Megan’s homicide, saying, “I’m definitely not guilty.”

The family has asked for privacy as they continue to grieve the loss of Megan.