A woman who hit her 7-year-old adopted son on the head with a hammer and didn’t seek help while the boy slowly died was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without possibility of parole.
Lisa Holland, 33, was convicted in October of first-degree murder, and the sentence was mandatory.
Ingham County Circuit Judge Paula Manderfield choked back tears — as she did earlier this month when sentencing Holland’s husband, Tim Holland, to 30 to 60 years in prison for his role in the death of Ricky.
“Basically you buried your dog, but you threw away your child,” Manderfield told Lisa Holland, citing trial testimony.
The case led to ongoing scrutiny of the state’s child-protection system and whether workers did enough to protect Ricky and his siblings.
The Hollands initially claimed Ricky had run away from home in July 2005, sparking a nine-day search by 1,700 volunteers and hundreds of law enforcement officers.
In January, Tim Holland led police to the body in a rural area and admitted dumping his son’s remains. He told authorities his wife hit Ricky in the head with a hammer while he was away from home.
Holland said nothing as she was sentenced. “Lisa Holland is going to be punished; the jury has spoken. Lisa Holland wishes to maintain her silence,” said Mike Nichols, one of her attorneys.
Tim Holland testified that his wife had abused the boy for years, restraining him with ropes in the basement. He said the boy was listless and unable to walk in the last week of his life — not eating, drinking, walking or talking, and smelling of urine.
The Hollands became Ricky’s foster parents in 2000 and adopted him in 2003. They also adopted Ricky’s three younger siblings and had a child of their own.