Driver who killed pedestrian seeks more time out of prison

2012-11-29T10:15:00Z 2013-04-16T13:56:46Z Driver who killed pedestrian seeks more time out of prisonBy GWEN FLORIO of the Missoulian
November 29, 2012 10:15 am  • 

Virginia Beaver couldn’t believe it when a Missoula County District Court judge let the man convicted of killing her son stay out of prison pending his appeal.

She got even madder when the judge let Brian Holm travel to Minnesota so he could be evaluated at the Mayo Clinic for a heart valve replacement.

But now Holm says, in a court document filed earlier this month, that he’ll have to stay in Minnesota far longer than anticipated because a doctor there thinks he may need a liver transplant before heart surgery is even an option.

Virginia Beaver has had it.

“I was hoping to live long enough to see Holm in prison,” Beaver said in a telephone interview from her home in Aberdeen, Wash., on Wednesday. But this most recent development leaves her doubtful.

Beaver, 62, knows something about the long wait for organ transplants. She had a double lung transplant just eight months before Holm drove drunk on Brooks Street in November 2010, veering across opposing traffic lanes and onto the sidewalk, where his car struck 24-year-old Brian Beaver.

She waited five years for her new lungs, replacing organs damaged by a hereditary form of emphysema. Her son nursed her through the recovery. Earlier this year, Virginia Beaver was treated for breast cancer.

“This judge’s decision isn’t helping my health,” she said.

Missoula County District Court Judge Robert L. “Dusty” Deschamps, who presided over Holm’s trial, is painfully aware of the emotions surrounding the case.

“I know everybody’s got a desire for punishment, including me,” he said Wednesday.

Brian Beaver’s sister articulated that desire.

“He can be on the transplant list. That’s fine,” said Teesha Beaver of Dallas, Ore. “But he needs to be in prison while he’s waiting.”

Laura Janes, chief of the Montana State Prison’s health services bureau, said Wednesday that the prison routinely cares for people with serious medical conditions.

“I can’t think of anything we have been exposed to that we haven’t been able to problem-solve as a team,” she said.


Holm was convicted in August 2011 of vehicular homicide while under the influence, and sentenced a month later to 30 years in prison with 15 suspended.

Within weeks of the jury’s verdict, Holm began filing one motion after another in District Court about what he saw as fatal flaws in the case. All were denied.

Holm turned to the Montana Supreme Court in July, claiming that Deschamps should have held a hearing to determine the validity of his complaints about his public defender.

After several delays, the Supreme Court received all of the filings in the case late last month. Deschamps said Wednesday he’s awaiting the court’s decision in the case, which he expects possibly early next year.

In September, Deschamps allowed Holm to travel to Minnesota – where his sister lives – for the evaluation at the Mayo Clinic on double valve-replacement surgery. Holm’s petition in that matter estimated that, if he had the surgery, recovery time would postpone his return to Missoula until December.

Now Holm’s attorney has filed an update on his medical condition, saying he was diagnosed with a “very damaged” liver that must be replaced before any heart surgery. “Therefore, defendant’s stay in Minneapolis is going to be considerably longer than originally anticipated due to the liver transplant list Brian Holm will have to be put on for said transplant,” wrote his attorney, Richard Buley of Missoula.

The doctor’s report included with the filing said tests showed Holm has early cirrhosis, in addition to his autoimmune hepatitis. Cirrhosis is a liver disease associated with hepatitis and alcoholism.

Nationally, the average wait for a liver transplant for people ages 50 to 64 is 417 days, as of Wednesday, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Holm was 50 when Beaver was killed.


Janes said the state Department of Corrections has accommodated people with “extensive” health problems, including those awaiting transplants. “We try to function case by case. We do the best we can do to get them the health care they need, and to protect the public,” she said.

Specialists are brought in to treat some inmates; others are sent out to treatment, including to Missoula three times weekly for dialysis, she said.

Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Anez said that in the past five years, the department has averaged 14,934 cases per year of people requiring outside medical care. In fiscal year 2012, the cost of such care totaled $7.8 million, he said – a 23 percent increase from the previous year.

Deschamps said such costs play into the dilemma surrounding Holm.

If the Supreme Court reverses Holm’s conviction, a retrial might be dependent upon Holm’s medical condition. And if the Supreme Court affirms the lower court decision, “I’m going to have to take a hard look at what to do,” the judge said. “I’m not too eager with saddling the taxpayers of Montana with some guy who needs a liver transplant and heart surgery.”

Teesha Beaver said she plans a social media campaign to petition Deschamps to order Holm to begin serving his sentence immediately.

“I’m going to sit down in front of a computer and I’m going to write out what it’s been like for my family and me these last two years, with the pain of losing my brother,” she said.

“A nightmare,” she described that time – especially the 14 months that Holm has remained free following his sentence.

“He gets to spend time with his sister,” she said of Holm’s stay in Minneapolis, “while my brother is six feet under in a box and we will never get to spend another moment with him.”

Reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268, or @CopsAndCourts.

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(34) Comments

  1. afriend
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    afriend - December 04, 2012 3:12 pm
    I am truly sorry that you have to be re-victimized by this judge and Holmes. It tears at my heart strings that he is able to spend what may be the twilight of his life with his family all the while you were not granted that same opportunity. Where is the justice? These are the things in life that cause you to question whether or not justice does exist. I say hold tight Beavers, this hell just may lay the groundwork to prevent this from happening in the future. Many families to come may just get justice because you stand so vigilant. Holmes will ultimatley face justice, if not in this world but the next. Don't let this blight on society leave a stain on your hearts.
  2. LiveLaughLove
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    LiveLaughLove - December 04, 2012 2:44 pm
    I've been avoiding the Missoulian and its discussion boards; however, I thought I'd publicly show my support for the Beaver family and my revulsion for Holm and his slimey tactics. What startingover added here sparked my curiosity: one does have to wonder what's really going on, as there are usually so many hidden aspects to these cases. Incidentally, I didn't vote for Deschamps, either; he needs to be replaced. Also, I'd apparently mistakenly thought alcoholic/drug addicts could not be on a transplant list. I'm sure the bleeding hearts would expound on humanitarian ideals; however, it is completely lacking in common sense as well as any humane cause for the Beaver family. This whole abomination of justice is mind-blowing, and my heart goes out to this family (as they know).
  3. tawnya25
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    tawnya25 - December 04, 2012 11:27 am
    I wonder if this was Judge Dusty's son if he would make the same judgments or sit by quietly while waiting for Justice. Food for thought...
  4. Tiny
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    Tiny - December 01, 2012 12:14 am
    Thank you for all your comments, it really helps to have so much support for our family. We have set up a facebook page for Brian. Please go there and click like and make a comment if you want. Brian's page is: Justice for Brian Beaver Jr. Again this is on facebook. It would be great if you could send the link to his page to anyone you can. Brian's Mother
  5. startingover
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    startingover - November 30, 2012 7:25 pm
    Maybe Holm remodeled Deschamps house at some point. That would explain his reluctance to send the guy to prison.
    I appeared before him on my first offense and got the exact same sentence as the guy ahead of me for his third offense, we were charged with the same exact crime, my first his third. In fact my sentence was harsher if you count the fact the guy ahead of me got credit for time served, while I didn't. Talking to that other guy later, I found out he had done some work for Deschamps in the past, guess that scored some brownie points for him.
  6. imwithu
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    imwithu - November 30, 2012 10:30 am
    Why would anybody give this guy their he can just ruin that one, too?!?
  7. RageinMama
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    RageinMama - November 29, 2012 7:45 pm
    Let me say it would appear that most people support the Beaver's family and their cries justice are not unheard which takes some of the sting out of reading these comments for me personally. I am Teesha Beaver's best friend and I had to collect her wits for her and dry her tears and listen to her scream and cry and watch her pull at her own hair in anger many many times since Brian's murder. It has sucked for me because there is absolutely nothing I can do or say to make things better for her or her Mom. Holm DOES NOT deserve a transplant of any kind on anyones dime. He deserves to suffer behind bars and wait out his sentence before even considering asking for mercy. Deschamps you are a disgrace to the justice system, you do not deserve to be called Judge. You have a duty to be fair and impartial in your rulings yet you allow a murderer to continue to victimize a family continuously because you don't want the tax payers to pay this murderers medical bills? Who has been paying so far? Who paid and is paying for his legal services? How in the world do you sleep at night?
  8. RageinMama
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    RageinMama - November 29, 2012 7:24 pm
    Holm dying is not justice for the murder he commited and since you e life that the Beaver family doesn't deserve justice because they aren't from there and you don't feel you should have to foot the bill for a murderers transplants why dont you foot the bill for a sign warning tourists not to visit your great state that you can live without their money and offer your own organs to that low life in trade.
  9. RPT
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    RPT - November 29, 2012 6:37 pm
    The police and jury did their jobs in convicting Holms of murder,,,,
    But when and ONLY when Montana is willing to remove our bleeding heart judges like Deschamp from the loop,once a person is found guilty, and go to mandatory
    fines, forfeiture of property and prison terms will this mentality of a right to drink and drive drunk then commit murder and get away with it in this state change.
    Some have said we can’t lock them all up.. I say we can and must because within a couple years the worst
    of those repeat offenders will be locked up and off our roads and highways forever.
    Time and time again we hear about these drunks getting their 7th..10th ..11th and even 13th DUI and still their allowed to stay out of jail.
    It’s disgraceful what’s being allowed to happen in this state because of Judges like Deschamp.
    Lets hope Karma is waiting for both him and Holms.
  10. goldstd
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    goldstd - November 29, 2012 4:32 pm
    the white pony tail lawyers and bearded wonder lawyers and fake somber faced judges are ALL pro criminal...the ones who belong behind bars for life hard labor are the lawyers and judges...that day will come
  11. Julia
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    Julia - November 29, 2012 4:07 pm
    Alright MIssoulians, lets come together and show the Beaver family how this community really comes together. Lets show this SOB just how much he has pi**ed us off. And while we are at it lets show our own justice system that they have let the wrong community down.
    I hear the rage of all of you and feel as if I could explode with anger myself, so lets do something!
    If you go to the website you can get addresses, email addresses, phone numbers of all our senators, congressmen, governors and anyone else on the list that you can find to write to . Lets all write letters to them all...Lets raise some Hell! The Beavers deserve it and so does our community! Lets get some ideas going here on who we should be pressuring, use our rage to fix this!
  12. Responsible Jeeper
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    Responsible Jeeper - November 29, 2012 3:57 pm
    I completely agree.
    If, and I emphasize IF he successfully serves his sentence and returns to population a law abiding citizen then he should have the right to request to be put back on the donor list.
    Prisoners lose certain rights as a consequence to their crimes.
    Losing the right to be put on a donor list should be implemented immediately.
    I hope karma catches up to this guy before he receives any transplant which would likely be footed by the law abiding tax payers..
  13. T Beaver
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    T Beaver - November 29, 2012 3:10 pm
    As Brian's sister, I will be writing a lot of letters doing everything I can to get judge "Dusty" disbarred. I am going to find out the channels that I need to go through to get petitions going to not only get rid of judge Dusty, but to help change the laws of drinking and driving in Montana. That way no other family has to suffer the way my family and friends have had to suffer. I am already looking into possible outlets to get this news story to go nation wide, I am done being silent, I will no longer sit back and watch as judge Dusty makes a mockery of my family and the great supportive people of Missoula. This woman has been pushed not only to the edge but over. Enough is enough, it's time for change and I am willing to do what ever it takes to help things change for the good for all the people of the Missoula and surrounding areas of Montana. I will be sending out letters soon, and I will begin my peaceful campaign of letters to people who can help get things changed and if need be a peaceful protest. A very huge thank you for everyone who has stood behind my family and friends in a very trying and hurtful time for us, may we have the strength to get done what needs to be done and see this man in prison where he should have been all along!
  14. tawnya25
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    tawnya25 - November 29, 2012 3:09 pm
    Putting aside the sick Irony of all this.. There are a few thngs I know about transplants, (as a close family member of mine has recentle had one). This is a very expensive operation, not to mention the cost of keeping yourself alive after with all the meds. (oh and lets not forget the whole reason for the new liver, the heart surgery) I have an amazing medical plan and I know that I could not afford this. So either Holms has come into a lot of money, or he is on some kind of assistance already and that is how he is going to afford all this medical attention. If he is on some kind of state assistance the state of montana is going to flip the bill regardless so this would through "dustys" excuse right out the window..... right?!?!
  15. familytruckster
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    familytruckster - November 29, 2012 3:09 pm
    Huckleberryhaven's idea is an awesome one: the family should bring this to national attention through the media.

    I really like Judge Deschamps personally, but I did not vote to re-elect him because of his decisions in this case.
  16. teri
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    teri - November 29, 2012 1:08 pm
    collective rage.... good choice of words. seriously?? a liver transplant?? i will go to the dmv and take myself off of the organ doner check spot on my drivers license, and have it re issued. i became a organ doner because i had a young realitive bennifit from organ donation. but HOLM?? he is a raging alcoholic and drug addict. he has not stopped. so if past behaviors are the best indicator of future behaviors... he will need a second liver. whatever!! he needs to sit in jail and wait for whatever he thinks he needs. OMG, to the bever family, i am truely from the heart sorry for the lack of justice. i did not vote for good old dusty... he needs to step down. brian, hows it feel to read all this?? you are a coward among cowards. i have more to say, but want this published. i am going to take myself off as a organ doner. threr are those that deserve.... and when they can make sure no part of me goes to a pickled peice of you know.... i will become a doner again. its the whole cowardly, lack of taking accountability. brian holm, i do believe you might be a most unliked coward in missoula...
  17. TRichard
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    TRichard - November 29, 2012 8:18 am
    We had the opportunity to let Deschamps know how we felt about him as a judge, but 77% of us voted for him to stay on the bench. I was not one of them!
  18. dave ajou
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    dave ajou - November 29, 2012 8:04 am
    Two words- collective rage. I would like to believe that meaningful reform will come from this travesty, but I doubt it. The Beaver family have become modern day Jobs. They have been subjected to a Kafkaesque nightmare, and I hope they see a shred of justice in the very near future. Deschamps is a disgrace, claiming that he is concerned about costs to the taxpayer as the reason to not end this charade, makes him complicit in my opinion. Surely he knows, as we all do, that this coward won't last in prison. He will perish from fright long before he qualifies for any transplant. As far as I'm concerned they can drag Holm up to Big Mountain and let him replace the Jesus statue, chain him to the site 24/7 and the dirtbag Buley can blog about it. Does Holm have to register as a convicted murderer so the neighbors in Minnesota know who is living next to them ?
  19. Nils
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    Nils - November 29, 2012 7:44 am
    It is not surprising that the attorney for Holm (Buley) is a left-wing liberal blogger (for The Missoulian), and Judge Deschamps is a liberal left-wing Democrat who ran unsuccessfully as a liberal Democrrat for the United States Congress in 1998.
  20. Roger
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    Roger - November 29, 2012 7:24 am
    The lowlife ruined his liver by abusing drugs - he should go to the bottom of any organ transplant list. If there were any justice, he wouldn't even be eligible for a transplant until he's served his sentence.
  21. funkdubayous
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    funkdubayous - November 29, 2012 7:23 am
    this guy deserves a public stoning. what a worthless human being. where are you Holm? why arent you here defending yourself. maybe because you know what a worthless pieceof excrement you are not worth defending. the day will soon come when you rot the rest of your pathetic life in a 8x8 concrete room. enjoy your freedom scumbag
  22. pl
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    pl - November 29, 2012 7:19 am
    Where is this guy getting the money for all these appeals? I sure would like to know that one!
  23. pl
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    pl - November 29, 2012 7:15 am
    "Remorse" does make up for the recklessness that caused the loss of an innocent life. I don't care if he DID ever have any remorse. He's a worthless bum that killed someone while using drugs and drunk. The bar, the KT's Hayloft, should be closed down and this guy put in jail.
  24. pl
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    pl - November 29, 2012 7:12 am
    So NOW he needs a liver transplant. Gee, if he would have stayed out of the bars, he would be much healthier wouldn't he? This bum should be in jail irregardless of his health problems!
    Does Montana "justice" EVER rule on the side of victims? I don't see it happening here. "Someone" from outside of Montana has to come into Montana and start completely over with the complete lack of justice for any victims in Montana. Put this bum in jail and let him rot!
  25. frazzle
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    frazzle - November 29, 2012 6:46 am
    maybe the law in minnesota will do something to him when he gets another dui over there.i'm giving 10 to 1 odd's this guy is still drinking and driving,and why would'nt he ?he's gotten away with murder already.
  26. walter12
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    walter12 - November 29, 2012 6:45 am
    Keep this FH Holm in jail. What about the victim?
  27. sep924
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    sep924 - November 29, 2012 6:16 am
    Felon Brian Holm's gall continues to astound me. His original actions and subsequent lack of remorse are despicable -- and inhumane toward the victim's family. (I'm still trying to figure out why he took Ambien -- a sleeping pill -- before going out for a night on the town.) We as taxpayers are already footing the bill for his public defender. This struggling taxpayer wouldn't mind kicking in whatever extra tax money it takes to put him behind bars and keep him there until justice is finally served.
  28. MTminded
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    MTminded - November 29, 2012 5:46 am
    From Higgins Avenue to Buckhouse Bridge, Brooks Street should be the tidiest thoroughfare in Montana while Brian Holm is out of prison. Holm should be made to clean that street, daily, with a whisk broom and a dust pan. And if Judge Deschamps doesn't step up and toss this murderer into prison, Deschamps should be given a whisk broom as well.
  29. DPotter
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    DPotter - November 29, 2012 3:12 am
    While I would like to see Holm in prison, as a taxpayer, I am none too keen about footing the probable million dollar medical bill for a possible liver and heart transplant for this guy. He is a waste of space, but if he is in prison the onus is on the state to provide care. While I feel for the Beaver's pain, they don't live here. Maybe we'll all get a break and he'll pass before viable and rare organ donations become available.
  30. MsEmily
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    MsEmily - November 28, 2012 11:47 pm
    Judge, please don't allow this criminal to continually re-victimize the family and friends of the deceased young man who paid with his life for someone who refused to stop drinking. This criminal deserves nothing more than to be behind prison walls awaiting transplants that hopefully won't arrive in time and justice will be served. .
  31. M
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    M - November 28, 2012 11:27 pm
    Pretty sure most of us taxpayers don't have too much trouble tossing him in prison where he belongs to await his transplant. If the guy had ever shown the least bit of remorse or acceptance of his responsibility in killing Brian, that'd be one thing. But he hasn't. He's done nothing but try to stay out of prison--which is where he belongs.
  32. huckleberryhaven
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    huckleberryhaven - November 28, 2012 11:05 pm
    One more comment... Why did Judge Deschamps allow Holms to go to Minnesota for a heart specialist when we are supposed to have one of the best heart specialists right here in Missoula at St. Pat's?? Boy, Holms knows how to play every part of this justice system and to think that a Judge actually fell for it. Ridiculous. Funny known of Holms health issues were brought up during the trial. A drunk and/or a pill taker convicted of murder, is now hollering for a new liver/heart transplant.
  33. huckleberryhaven
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    huckleberryhaven - November 28, 2012 10:48 pm
    I've been following this story over the last year. I have no connection between either party, just the connection here reading story after story and I have to say this story now just makes me angry and stick to death at this judge proceeding over the case. How DARE he let this Holms guy OUT walking the streets, living in another state over some illness? This Holms doesn't deserve special treatment, are you kidding me? He didn't care about his health year after year guzzling down alcohol left and right, taking all sorts of medicine and DRIVING under the invluence...and NOW he is worried for his health?? JUDGE, wake up! He is ONLY doing this to get out of going to prison, open your eyes! This is the one time I have to say I am ashamed of our Judges in Missoula. Shame on you and get that HOLMS charactor back in prison now! To Brian Beavers family, let us Missoulian readers know as soon as possible, when you have a petition to sign. And please, look around anywhere in the US for someone to pick this story up and bring it to the attention of outsiders what exactly our Missoula judges are doing to Drunk Drivers convicted... go to CNN, go to Nancy Grace... Oprah... someone who can bring this story nationally and maybe open the eyes of Judge Deschamps to do the right thing! Blessings (and sorry for rambling...)
  34. startingover
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    startingover - November 28, 2012 10:17 pm
    There is no reason this guy can't be sitting out this time in prison. He has a liver disease? Boy isn't that a shocker! Come on Deschamps get this done.
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