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New York murder suspect accused of killing cop's daughter Megan McDonald released from prison

An upstate New York judge Wednesday granted Edward Holley’s release in accordance with state law after the Orange County district attorney did not set a grand jury evaluation or a preliminary hearing for the suspect accused of killing Megan McDonald in 2003.

New York State Police arrested and charged Holley with second-degree murder last week in the beating death of McDonald, an NYPD detective’s daughter, 20 years ago.

“Today was the day that was set for either the grand jury evaluation or a preliminary hearing, and the district attorney’s office didn’t do either, basically consenting to an ORR,” or release on one’s own recognizance, Holley’s attorney, Paul Weber, told Fox News Digital.

Weber suspects District Attorney David Hoovler neither set a court proceeding nor showed up to a press conference about Holley’s arrest last week because his office believes police did not include “enough to prosecute” Holley in their complaint, creating a possible “rift” with the DA’s office.

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Edward Holley appears in court

Edward Holley is wheeled into the Town of Wallkill Court in Middletown April 26, 2023. (Patrick Oehler/Times Herald-Record/USA Today Network)

Despite his release on the second-degree murder charge, Holley will remain in custody on an unrelated 2021 drug charge.

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Hoovler’s office released a statement Wednesday saying he requested a special prosecutor in Holley’s case, citing a “substantial conflict of interest.

“[P]rior to becoming District Attorney, Mr. Hoovler represented a client in negotiations with the District Attorney’s office regarding potential information that client might provide regarding Ms. McDonald’s death,” the statement said.

Edward Holley in court

Edward Holley beside his attorney, Paul Weber, for an appearance in the Town of Wallkill Court in Middletown, N.Y., April 26, 2023. (Patrick Oehler/Times Herald-Record/USA Today Network)

“Although the District Attorney’s Office had been consulting with the New York State Police on issues during the investigation, the District Attorney’s Office was neither alerted to defendant’s imminent arrest, nor given an opportunity to review the seventeen-page felony complaint in advance of it being filed with the court,” Hoolver said.

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On the day of his arrest, Holley told reporters outside a police station that he is “definitely not guilty.”

Megan McDonald and Edward Holley

“I’m definitely not guilty. I love Megan with all my heart,” said a wheelchair-bound Holley, who had a romantic relationship with McDonald before her murder. (NYSP/Patrick Oehler/Times Herald-Record/USA Today Network)

“I love Megan with all my heart,” a wheelchair-bound Holley, who had a romantic relationship with McDonald before her murder, said while being escorted into a police vehicle, video from WCBS shows.

Two young women standing by another woman who identified herself as Holley’s wife shouted, “We love you, Daddy,” PIX11 reported.

Holley was paralyzed from the waist down in a 2007 car accident, the outlet reported.

Megan McDonald

Megan McDonald was murdered in Orange County, New York, in March 2003. (Justice for Megan McDonald)

A felony complaint from NYSP filed in Orange County alleges Holley “did knowingly and intentionally cause the death of Megan McDonald by striking her multiple times in the head with a blunt instrument.”

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McDonald and Holley had been in a “romantic relationship” that McDonald apparently tried to end just days prior to her murder after a March 14, 2003, party. They got into an argument March 10, 2003, according to the complaint.

Megan McDonald in a photo

“We’re getting to the point now where we see the finish line in sight,” NYSP Lt. Brad Natailizio told Fox News Digital. (Justice for Megan McDonald)

Holley also “owed the victim a substantial amount of money that was causing hostility between the two leading up to the homicide,” the document states.

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Additionally, witnesses saw Holley’s purple Honda Civic, described as “the loudest car in town,” following McDonald in her white Mercury March 14, the morning of her murder. Authorities found McDonald’s vehicle at the Kensington Manor apartment complex parking lot in Wallkill, New York, two days after they discovered her body. 

Holley’s next hearing is scheduled for May.

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