Sodus man sentenced to 20 years to life for killing ex-girlfriend

March 09, 2018 09:45 PM

A Sodus man was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison Friday for the murder of his teenage ex-girlfriend.

David Knight-Hollis, 20, pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder charges.  In court in Lyons, Hollis admitted to stabbing Alyssa Taft in November.

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His plea and sentencing brought harsh condemnation from the victim’s family.

"You are a vicious conniving animal that should never see a sunrise or sunset as a free man in society ever again,” declared Sarah Taft,   Alyssa’s mother, in her impact statement.    “I hope you spend your life looking over your shoulder in prison until the day the Good Lord sends you to your damnation in Hell.” 

Holding up a picture of Alyssa for most of her remarks, Taft talked about her daughter’s love of animals, involvement in track and theater in school and her interest in geology which she planned to pursue at SUNY Oswego.

“She loved studying rocks,” Taft told the court as other relatives audibly wept. “I still have many boxes filled with her finds as a small child. We were going to make a rock garden with them in the spring together, but now that will be something I'll do on my own to honor her memory."

In November, prosecutors said, Hollis lured Allyssa to his home in Sodus on the pretext of returning money he owed her. Instead, they said he tried to rekindle the relationship then attacked Alyssa when she tried to leave.

Hollis had no previous criminal record and his public defender Andrew Correia told the court all those familiar with Hollis with whom he’d spoken found the crime “inexplicable.“  Correia told News 10 NBC that Hollis had shown “extensive remorse“ in private conversations.

In court, however, Hollis said little, merely acknowledging he understood the ramifications of his guilty plea and admitting to the crime.

Under the terms of Hollis’ guilty plea, 7th District Supreme Court Justice Richard Healy sentenced Hollis to 20 years to life in prison.  Healy too expressed confounded frustration at the crime. 

“You stand here this morning convicted of the brutal murder, the vicious, senseless killing of an innocent young woman,” Healy said as he passed sentence. “And I guess I don’t understand it.  And I don’t think anybody understands that here. We probably never will.”

Wayne County District Attorney Mike Calarco revealed that the plea arrangement came at the suggestion of Hollis’ lawyer.

He said Alyssa’s family considered it for two weeks before giving their approval to avoid the trauma of a trial and the potential for years of appeals, and to get closure on a painful ordeal.

"I did not want to go through a trial on this," Sarah Taft said. "He got a close enough sentence."


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