Court documents: Suspect Holtz ran over Absarokee man's head, killing him

2014-06-30T09:41:00Z 2014-07-07T10:21:04Z Court documents: Suspect Holtz ran over Absarokee man's head, killing himBy EDDIE GREGG egregg@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

The 21-year-old man arrested over the weekend in connection with the July 2013 death of Forest G. Dana — who investigators say died after having his head run over by a car in Absarokee — was released from jail Monday after posting on $250,000 bond.

On Saturday, investigators arrested the suspect, Michael Thomas Holtz, in Billings without incident and booked him into the Yellowstone County Detention Facility, according to the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office.

The arrest was made 11 months to the day after Dana’s body was found, and less than a week after investigators received a crime lab report saying his DNA had been found on Holtz’ car, a blue 2003 Mazda Protege, according to charging documents released by the Stillwater County Attorney’s Office.

Holtz, who witnesses said was drunk on the night of the death, faces charges of negligent homicide and tampering with or fabricating evidence, which respectively carry maximum sentences of 20 and 10 years in prison. He is scheduled to enter pleas to the charges in District Court on July 7.

The charges allege he ran over 27-year-old Dana in an alley in Absarokee late July 27 or early July 28, and later crashed his car into a tree on Lover’s Lane in an attempt to impede any investigation into the death.

Charging documents include a 28-page affidavit and a witness list of more than 200 people. Numerous witnesses quoted in the affidavit say they saw a car matching the description of Holtz’ car speeding down the alley where Dana’s body was found.

The death occurred during the annual Absarokee Days celebration, which drew hundreds of visitors to the town during the last weekend in July.

Several witnesses who said they saw Holtz the night of the death differentiated between him and his identical twin brother by their facial hair.

One witness said he had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit by Holtz’ car, which he estimated reached 80 mph as it sped down the alley where Dana was later found.

The alley runs between the 5 Spot Bar, where both Holtz and Dana were seen late July 27, and Dana’s parents’ nearby home, court records say.

Last Tuesday, investigators received a state crime lab report saying that DNA found on the passenger side front mudflap and A-frame of Holtz’ car matched Dana’s DNA profile.

Holtz said in an August interview with a state Division of Criminal Investigation agent that damage to the side of his Mazda was from a collision with a deer earlier in July, charging

documents state. He also denied driving his car down the alley on the night of July 27 or early on July 28.

He did, however, admit that on that night he had four or five whiskey drinks at the 5 Spot Bar and spoke to Dana, who was at the bar playing beer pong, court records say.

Other witnesses reported that Dana was last seen alive on a lawn near the bar, possibly between 11:30 p.m. and midnight.

Dana was found dead by family members at about 7:15 a.m. on July 28, 2013. An autopsy done the next day revealed he died from blunt force trauma. Court records say he “died as a result of having his head driven over by a motor vehicle.”

The autopsy report states that Dana had “aspirated blood” in his lungs, indicating he may have been given some assisted breaths before dying.

“The arrest comes after an intensive investigation conducted over the last 11 months,” according to a news release from the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office.

The state Division of Criminal Investigation assisted in investigating the case at the request of the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office. The attorney general’s office is also assisting in prosecuting the case, court records indicate.

There hadn’t been a murder in Absarokee since the 1990 shootings of 20-year-old Kirk William Aberle and 19-year-old Garrison T. Shupe.

John O. Miller IV was convicted of the murders and sentenced to life in prison.

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Comment policy

We provide this forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the day's news. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name-calling, crude language and abuse are not. You must be logged into a personal account on Facebook to comment (FAQ). Readers are responsible for their comments and abuse of this privilege will not be tolerated. We reserve the right, without warning or notification, to remove comments and block users we determine violate our Terms of Service. Comments reflect the opinions of the author - not those of The Billings Gazette or its parent company.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

More from the Gazette

Pryor woman admits drunken driving assault

Pryor woman admits drunken driving assault

February 25, 2015 11:19 am(0)
Man admits to pointing BB gun at cop, meth possession

Man admits to pointing BB gun at cop, meth possession

February 24, 2015 5:00 pm(0)

Woman denies bank fraud charges

February 20, 2015 1:47 pm(0)
Man accused of taking officer’s gun in Bismarck was in truck stolen from Billings

Man accused of taking officer’s gun in Bismarck was in truck stolen from Billings

February 20, 2015 10:00 am(0)
Downtown Hardee’s worker injured in assault

Downtown Hardee’s worker injured in assault

February 20, 2015 6:57 am(0)

Follow The Billings Gazette

Most Wanted

Warrant Wednesday: MHP seeking man convicted of endangerment in Yellowstone County

Warrant Wednesday: MHP seeking man convicted of endangerment in Yellowstone County

The Montana Highway Patrol is seeking a man who violated the terms of his probation and absconded from supervision.

February 25, 2015 7:38 am(0)

Most Wanted

Most Wanted

Wanted by the United States Marshals Service Montana Violent Offender Task Force

February 23, 2015 12:00 am(0)

Crime Watch Map

Keep tabs on crime around the city. View Map

Billings Police Report

2013 Billings Police Department Annual Report. View Report

National crime statistics

Database: FBI hate crime statistics

Database: FBI hate crime statistics

Approximately 6,000 hate crimes motivated by gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability were reported to the FBI in 2013.

Database: US college and university crime statistics

Database: US college and university crime statistics

Compare how U.S. colleges and universities rank for various crimes reported to campus or local authorities in 2013.

Database: US homicide victims by age, gender and ethnicity

Database: US homicide victims by age, gender and ethnicity

View homicide statistics for 2013 based on age group, gender and ethnicity. Data is compiled annually by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UC…

Popular Stories

Get weekly ads via e-mail

Deals & Offers

Featured Businesses