By Lisa Pett
After deliberating for less than three hours, a jury of nine women and three men found Maurice Holt guilty of seven counts of armed robbery, substantial battery, false imprisonment, intimidation of a victim and battery.
Holt, 32 of Wausau, was accused of participating in the violent armed robbery that occurred in the early morning hours of September 22, 2013. In that crime, two young men were beaten, threatened and held against their will while three men ransacked their apartment, allegedly searching for drugs or money.
Holt, along with Lyndell Dale and Archie Biddell, stole electronics, video games, an iPod and two guitars from the victims after threatening them, pistol-whipping one victim so badly that he needed 19 stitches.
The burden of proof rested with Assistant District Attorney Cass Cousins, who needed to prove Holt was indeed the third man beyond a reasonable doubt. The state presented testimony by the victims in the case, investigating detectives, as well as the other men convicted of the crime.
Holt’s defense attorney, Jay Kronewetter, asserted his client’s innocence in his closing by stating that the state, and ADA Cousins were wrong. The defense claimed the third man in the crime was not Maurice Holt, but was Holt’s nephew, a man named Raevone Gosha.
Gosha was with Dale and another individual when they visited the victims’ apartment the night before the robbery, at one of the victim’s invitation, when both victims admitted smoking marijuana and drinking with their guests until late in the evening.
Late the following night, on Sept. 22, 2013, Dale returned to the apartment with two other men, unknown to the victims, according to police statements. One of those men was Archie Biddell. The other was Maurice Holt.
Holt’s finance, Lisa Ricci, testified he left the Wausau home they shared Friday evening and did not return until Monday morning because they had argued over alleged infidelity and her concern over “other activities.”
The defense called several alibi witnesses to support its assertion that Holt was not the third suspect, to include a married couple who testified Holt was at their house all weekend. But they both admitted to failing to call the police with the alibi information after finding out Holt was charged with a crime. They also both refused to speak to Plover Police Department Detective Brian Noel when contacted about the case.
Biddell and Dale, both of whom have begun serving their sentences after being convicted of armed robbery and battery, also both testified as to their involvement. Both stated they were involved but refused to answer further questions, except to state that the third man was not Raevone Gosha.
While Gosha has been interviewed by police, his whereabouts are currently unknown despite several searched by law enforcement.
Holt was only connected to the crime when he pawned some of the items from the robbery. He told an employee of Jerry’s Music in Wausau two of the stolen guitars were his and they were “just sitting around the house collecting dust.”
A search of Holt’s residence turned up more stolen items, including two Nintendo DS hand-held games, an iPod with a victim’s name engraved on the back, and a set of headphones.
Holt gave conflicting stories to detectives about how he obtained the stolen property.
Sentencing in the case is tentatively set for November 3.