by LEWIS GRISWOLD
The Fresno Bee
Published June 30, 2001
Todd Givens looked a little nervous, deputies said, when they came to search his cell at the Bob Wiley Detention Center in Tulare County. Givens was handcuffed and told to face a wall.
They searched under the table that juts out from a cinderblock wall, felt the mattress and found a suspicious 5-inch tear at the seam. They examined Givens’ locker and inspected every nook and cranny.
Givens already is facing charges of double murder for which he could get the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Court documents indicate that what deputies found could compound his problems: three homemade knives, one in the mattress, one jammed into the corner of a shelf in his locker and the third behind a metal plate covering a hole in the wall where electrical equipment could go.
Friday, Givens was charged with being an inmate in possession of a weapon, a felony. The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office filed it as a “third strike” because of Givens’ previous record of armed robbery and bigamy.
Givens, an ex-con covered with tattoos on his neck, arms and the back of his shaven head, is said to be a member of the violent Nazi Low Riders prison gang.
He appeared in court Friday wearing chains and black-and-white prison garb. He simply said “yes” when asked whether he would waive his right to a speedy trial and pleaded innocent.
Judge Darryl Ferguson added the new charges to the double murder charge in the deaths of Barry Holstone, 30, a former prison inmate who served time with Givens, and his sister, Patreace Holstone, 32.
A preliminary hearing on the double murder charges, two arson charges and the weapons charge is scheduled for Aug. 3.
Meanwhile, Deputy District Attorney Ed Gil said Friday that no decision has been made about seeking the death penalty and won’t be until after the preliminary hearing.
The charred bodies of the Holstone siblings were found in the back of a burning car near Ivanhoe on April 1. Authorities have yet to state a motive for the slayings, which they said occurred in a garage that was set on fire.
Also arrested on double murder charges was his wife, Lacey Givens, 24. She could get the death penalty or life without parole if found guilty. She is in jail awaiting the preliminary hearing. And Givens’ mother, Cheryl, faces accessory charges for allegedly helping to put the bodies in the trunk. She is free on bail.
If convicted only on the three weapons charges, Givens faces 25 years to life in prison for each weapon for a total of 75 years to life.