MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (PIX11) – A judge said the suspect in the 2003 death of Megan McDonald, the daughter of an NYPD detective, would be released from jail this week due to a technicality in the case.
Edward Holley, 42, will be let go — at least temporarily — because the office of Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler has not secured a murder indictment by a strict, legal deadline. Holley has to finish jail time on a drug charge before he’s released Thursday.
State police from Troop “F” Headquarters in Middletown arrested Holley last week after an exhaustive investigation that made use of DNA and cyber evidence, along with new witnesses who came forward.
McDonald, a 20-year-old college student, was last seen alive in the early hours of March 14, 2003, after she left a party to meet Holley, a local marijuana dealer that she had dated, police said. The two were estranged and McDonald was dating someone new, according to investigators.
A new witness told police in the last two years that Holley’s distinctive hatchback vehicle, which had a loud sound system, followed McDonald’s white Mercury Sable into a parking lot across from Kensington Manor apartments in Wallkill.
Holley and another man were seen getting into McDonald’s Sable and driving off, police said. McDonald’s battered body was found more than a day later on a dirt path in a remote part of Wallkill. State Police allege Holley used a blunt object to bash McDonald in the head while she sat in the driver’s seat and he sat behind her.
Holley has insisted on his innocence, telling reporters that police were parading him like a “monkey” when he was arrested last Thursday.
Holley has used a wheelchair since 2007, four years after McDonald’s death, after sustaining spinal injuries in a car crash.
The murder charges police slapped on Holley have not been dropped, but grand jury action will need to be taken for the case to move forward.
McDonald’s late father, NYPD Detective Dennis McDonald, died a year before she was killed, not long after his retirement. He had investigated the first bombing of the World Trade Center.
An attorney for Megan McDonald’s family, John Beatty, issued a statement in response to the pending release of Holley.
“While this development may be disheartening for the family and those seeking justice for the victim, we were already aware of this phase of the criminal justice process,” Beatty said. “My office will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the prosecution of Edward Holley now proceeds expeditiously, ethically and professionally. We remain committed to seeking justice for Megan and holding those responsible accountable for their actions.”