Brian Holm seems to be “trying to unreasonably postpone his day of reckoning,” given his most recent move to push back his prison date for driving drunk and killing a pedestrian, according to Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg.
The county attorney’s assessment comes in his response to a motion by Holm to remain in Minnesota for 12 weeks of rehabilitation from his February heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic.
“The state strongly opposes any continuance of the hearing regarding execution of sentence in this matter for the reason that the defendant has been given ample opportunity to recover from the surgery …,” Van Valkenburg wrote.
Holm shouldn’t be allowed, he wrote, “to cause additional anguish to the family of the victim of his offense by avoiding the punishment ordered by this court.“
A Missoula County District Court jury convicted Holm in 2011 of vehicular homicide while under the influence in the death of Brian Beaver, a 24-year-old tourist from Aberdeen, Wash., who was walking on the sidewalk when Holm’s car veered across oncoming traffic lanes on Brooks Street and struck him.
Judge Dusty Deschamps sentenced Holm to 30 years in prison with 15 suspended, but delayed that sentence pending an appeal. He also allowed Holm to travel last fall to Minnesota, where his sister lives, for the heart valve surgery.
Last month, Holm filed a motion to delay the April 16 date to report back to Missoula County District Court, and then to prison. His attorney, Richard Buley of Missoula, included a letter from a Minnesota cardiologist recommending that Holm not travel until he’s completed the cardiac rehab.
Van Valkenburg also consulted a cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Matthew Maxwell, of the International Heart Institute of Montana in Missoula.
Lacking complications, “most patients are easily able to travel by plane or car within a week or two of surgery,” Maxwell responded. Holm’s physician noted no complications, Maxwell wrote.
He added that “we have performed cardiac surgery on inmates that were able to return to the prison infirmary within a week of valvular heart surgery.”
Last week, Deschamps filed an order seeking an answer to two questions – he asked the defense to explain who’s paying for Holm’s medical care. And, if it’s Medicaid, the judge asked the state to figure out what percentage of that comes from state vs. federal funds, and if Medicaid would continue to cover Holm if he were in prison.
Buley responded that Minnesota Medicare paid for Holm’s heart surgery, and also would pay for the 12 weeks of cardiac rehab.
Deschamps gave both sides until Monday to respond; the state had not filed its response by midafternoon Friday.