SC death-penalty defense lawyer to give talk in Columbia

nophillips@thestate.comMarch 31, 2014 

  • If you go

    Diana Holt, a Columbia defense attorney who specializes in the death penalty, will be the guest of honor at a wine and cheese reception sponsored by the Death Penalty Resource and Defense Center.

    The event will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Wine Down, 1520 Main St. It is free and open to the public. Attendees may enter a drawing for a copy of the 2013 book "Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong."

— A Columbia lawyer who earned national attention for her work to free a South Carolina death row inmate will give a short talk this week in Columbia about her case and the importance of the Death Penalty Resource and Defense Center.

Diana Holt worked for two decades to prove Edward Elmore was wrongly convicted in the 1982 rape and stabbing death of a 75-year-old Greenwood widow. Holt first was assigned to the case as a law school intern at the defense center. She discovered dozens of problems with the investigation and eventually convinced an appeals court to overturn the conviction.

Rather than being brought to trial again, Elmore pleaded guilty to the murder charge and in 2012 was released for prison for time served. He and his attorneys have maintained his innocence.

The case was featured on a new CNN series called “Death Row Stories,” and it was the subject of a 2013 book by Raymond Bonner titled “Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong.”

Now, people in Columbia can hear first-hand from Holt, who will be the guest of honor Wednesday at a wine and cheese reception at Wine Down, 1520 Main Street. The reception is sponsored by the Death Penalty Resource and Defense Center.

The death penalty center, based in Columbia, is a nonprofit organization that provides resources and assistance to lawyers handling death penalty cases. Lawyers supported by the center often are working for clients who received the death penalty because of poor legal representation during their trials or because of inequalities in the criminal justice system, said Holli Emore, a spokeswoman for the center.

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