Josh Holden, 30, of Ben Wheeler, originally faced up to life in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, family violence, a first-degree felony. He will be eligible for parole in 20 years.
“I think ultimately the plea … resolved the cases,” said Richard Schmidt, first assistant district attorney in Van Zandt County. “He waived his right to appeal, which means it’s (for all intents and purposes) over with. It prevents us from having to put the victim through the trial. We met with her prior to making the deal, (and) she was good with that. I think it was a good (plea).”
Holden was arrested by Van Zandt County Sheriff’s deputies in April after testimony from his wife that he beat her severely the last week in March, sheriff’s investigator Kristie Holt said at the time.
Investigator Holt said deputies received a call from the Van Police Department after someone found the wife and two small children on the side of the road along County Road 4512.
The wife was taken to an area hospital to be treated for her wounds, where Ms. Holt and another investigator from the office interviewed her, Ms. Holt has said.
“Her head had been shaved, and it looked like she had been scalped,” Investigator Holt said in April. “She had wounds all over her body, from bruises to open wounds pretty much on her arms and legs.”
The wife told authorities that March 22, her husband was angry with her because she was not getting their children ready for school fast enough, Investigator Holt has said. He beat her with a piece of stiff electrical wiring and a baseball bat before getting ready to take their 7-year-old daughter to school.
“He had told her that that was just a taste of what she was going to get, and when he returned, he was going to kill her,” Investigator Holt said in April. “When he left, being in fear for her life, she took the two small children, went into a wooded area near her home and hid, pretty much, for two days.”
The wife remained in the woods, attempting to flag down passing cars before a Good Samaritan stopped and took her to the Van Police Department, Investigator Holt has said.
The wife related at least two other accounts of violence done to her by her husband, including being stabbed in the leg and shot with a pellet gun, Investigator Holt has said.
“She had metal (pellets) in her legs where she said he’d shot her with a pellet gun, and they were still in her legs and those became open sores,” the investigator said in April. “That was at a different time, but those (pellets) were still in her legs.”
Authorities secured a search warrant for Holden’s arrest and to search the home, signed by Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Scott Shinn.
The Holdens’ children were placed in the custody of a foster family at the time. As for the woman, who made a victim impact statement this week, Schmidt said she appeared to be doing well. He said she still has scars from the abuse, but emotionally “seems to be bouncing back.”