Cold Blooded Murder In Amarillo
Crime is nothing new for the city of Amarillo, Texas. With a population of nearly 200,000, criminal activity is a given part of our growing metropolis. But no one could have foreseen the horrifying, brutal murder of 80-year-old A.B. Towery, Sr by a young woman named Brittany Holberg.
On November 13, 1996, Holberg robbed and murdered the elderly victim, Towery, Sr., in his home.
On the day of the murder, she found herself coming down from a 10-day drug binge and out of money when she wrecked a friend's car in Downtown Amarillo. She fled the scene of the wreck and took a cab over to the Princess Apartments on 4515 Virginia St., where one of her drug dealers lived, in the hopes of convincing him to front her some drugs. However, he was not home and she now had to deal with an upset cab driver who needed to be paid.
It was then that she saw A.B. Towery crossing the courtyard as he returned from grocery shopping. She approached him and asked to use his phone. He agreed and gave her entry into the building, allowing her to ditch the cab driver.
Once inside his home, she attempted to steal Towery's prescription drugs. He resisted, which infuriated Holberg enough to launch her violent and fatal attack. He was struck with a hammer and stabbed 58 times with weapons that included: a paring knife, a butcher knife, a grapefruit knife, and a fork. In a grotesque coupe de grace, a lamp pole had been shoved more than five inches down the victim's throat.
Testimony and forensic evidence showed that after the murder of Towery, Sr., Holberg changed out of her bloody clothes and used the deceased man's shower to clean herself. She then took $1,400 of cash from Towery's body, leaving the empty wallet on the dead man's chest. After leaving the apartment, she purchased more drugs with the stolen money and fled to Memphis, Tennessee.
'America's Most Wanted' Leads To Holberg's Capture
The popular show "America's Most Wanted" aired multiple segments on the search for Brittany Holberg. This led to a tip as to her whereabouts and she was then arrested outside a McDonald's restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee on February 17, 1997.
She was extradited to Texas and tried before a jury on Capital Murder charges. Holberg was convicted and sentenced to death on March 13, 1998 by Judge Patrick Pirtle of 251st District Court. She is one of one of six women currently on death row in the state of Texas.
Traumatized Woman? Or a Danger To Society?
Brittany Marlowe Holberg, by her own account, had a troubled upbringing that turned into a troubled life. She married as a teen, had a baby at 20 years old, was the victim of a gang rape and severely beaten and stabbed. She got hooked on drugs and claimed she worked as a sex worker to provide for her daughter. These are common statements given by Holberg in interviews in the years following her conviction and placement onto death row.
The long-lasting effect of trauma in early childhood can help explain some of her life choices, but can it truly be the answer to the question of how a 23-year-old woman is capable of stabbing an 80-year-old man to death 58 times before shoving a lamp five inches down his throat?
Perhaps, beyond the tragic stories she tells of her youth, there is something in Brittany Holberg's nature that steered her course to death row. Was Holberg made into a killer? Or was she born one?
There is overwhelming evidence of manipulation and self-serving behaviors by Brittany Holberg from the time of her arrest, conviction, and from where she now sits on Death Row. She has made claims against the victim's character and pushed a narrative that she assaulted Towery out of self-defense. But none of these statements from Holberg can hold up against court records, witness testimony, and forensic evidence.
Frequently described by those around her as smart and manipulative, Holberg elicits little sympathy from those who were involved in the court proceedings.
A Juror's Chilling Statement
One of the most comprehensive compilations of the Holberg trial and appeals can be found here. In this collection of documents is an open letter to the Amarillo Globe News by juror Holly Haines. In her compelling letter, she gives a horrifying insight as to Brittany Holberg as she was on the night she murdered A.B. Towery:
Although the struggle lasted a long time and Mr. Towery fought back vigorously, the damage to Brittany was pulled hair and a bad cut on her hand from one of the knives. The most vicious part of the struggle came after a break in the fight, when Mr. Towery was resting in a recliner and she was across the room from him. She chose not to leave.