Years of letters sent in a victim’s name to Jacksonville judges, prosecutors and police attempting to set a man free turned out to be a sham, according to the State Attorney’s Office.
Stephanie Diane Holloway, 46, of Miami was arrested Feb. 22 on two charges of making false statements, two counts of forgery and two of creating phony documents. She remains in the Duval County jail on $25,000 bail, according to jail records.
Meanwhile her husband she married while he was in prison, 44-year-old Daniel Holloway, is in the Central Florida Reception Center in Orlando sentenced in 2000 for carjacking. He’s not scheduled to be released until 2023, according to state Department of Corrections records.
The first letter purporting to be from carjacking victim “Natasha Jackson” was received by Circuit Court Judge Brad Stetson on Oct. 10, 2010, according to the arrest affidavit. Emails followed to the city Nov. 9, 2010, and to the Sheriff’s Office eight days later.
Soon more letters and emails began arriving at the Sheriff’s Office, State Attorney’s Office and various judges, Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei said.
“The letters pretended that Ms. Jackson was claiming to recant, ‘I have a confession,’ ‘There’s an innocent man in prison because of my lie,’ ” Mantei said.
The letters also had variations that Holloway didn’t commit the carjacking and requested the courts look at the case again. Mantei said his office did because they take claims like that seriously.
“We reached out to Jackson and she said, ‘I never sent that; it wasn’t me,’ ” Mantei said.
The most recent letter was received in early January asking Judge Mallory Cooper to “give inmate Holloway another chance” and saying that his wife is dying of cancer, according to the affidavit.
“Part of it was the sheer harassment Jackson got as we called her. It became a pattern that was irritating, but it was also illegal,” Mantei said. “This system is burdened enough without this sort of thing.”
A deeper investigation of the letters prompted the question: Who has a motive for wanting Daniel Holloway out of jail? Mantei said they learned he had gotten married in early 2012 while in prison, and their investigation began looking at his new bride.
Postmarks on the letters determined that they had come from a group home in Plantation where Stephanie Holloway had worked, the affidavit states. Ultimately, “good old-fashioned detective work” by a State Attorney’s Office investigator led them to match the handwriting on the letters to Holloway’s driver’s license signature, Mantei said.
Dan Scanlan: (904) 359-4549