Rollin Oliver pleads guilty to second-degree murder in slaying of Officer Celena Hollis

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Rollin Oliver.
Rollin Oliver pleaded guilty today to second-degree murder in the shooting death of Denver police officer Celena Hollis last June. The 22-year-old faces a sentence of sixteen to 26 years in prison according to the plea agreement, which is on view below. The original charge of first-degree murder/extreme indifference was dismissed as part of the deal.

Prosecutor Tim Twining said the prosecution discussed the deal with Hollis's family and made its decision "with the family's understanding."

Hollis was killed on June 24 at City Park while working off-duty to provide security for City Park Jazz. At a preliminary hearing in September, Denver police detective Jamie Castro testified that Oliver admitted to firing at least two shots in the park. A bullet found at the scene bearing Hollis's DNA matched Oliver's gun.

Oliver told police that he and a friend were confronted at City Park by a group of people he assumed to be Crips gang members, and they beat his friend badly. Oliver said he ran away, Castro testified, and as he did, he said he fired the gun over his shoulder.

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Celena Hollis.
But his defense attorney argued that Oliver didn't mean to kill anyone that day. The reason he had a gun, public defender William Drexler said, was for protection; Oliver had been shot at a party a few years earlier, causing "severe damage to his pelvis."

Oliver is listed as a member of the Bloods gang on his booking form, though his defense attorney sought to poke holes in that theory at the preliminary hearing. Oliver has no criminal history and no gang tattoos, Drexler said.

Neither the prosecution nor the defense discussed the reasons for the plea deal in court today. The hearing was pro forma, with Oliver answering a series of standard questions from the judge about his plea with either "yes" or "no." When asked, "Do you need any more time to think about what you're doing today?," Oliver paused. "No," he said.

The judge scheduled Oliver's sentencing hearing for June 21 at 1:30 p.m. Prosecutor Twining said he anticipates that several people will want to speak at the hearing.

Afterward, Twining made a very brief statement to the assembled media. He called the decision to cut a plea deal "very difficult" and said that prosecutors discussed it with Hollis's family. The family did not make a public statement.

Denver Police Chief Robert White and District Attorney Mitch Morrissey released the following statement, in which White says the family concurred with the plea deal:

On June 24, 2012, Oliver fired multiple rounds from a gun into a crowded area of Denver's City Park just as a jazz concert was ending. Denver Police Officer Celena Hollis died at the scene when one of the shots struck her in the head.

"The death of Officer Hollis is a great loss to the community, and the circumstances are tragic for everyone," Denver DA Mitch Morrissey said following the guilty plea. "Our thoughts are with her family and all those affected by her death."

The Denver Police Department is also acknowledging the guilty plea today. "The death of Officer Celina Hollis has been, and continues to be, a tragic and difficult reality for the men and women of the Denver Police Department," said Denver Police Chief Robert White. "Along with the community, DPD has supported the Hollis family since the fatal shooting occurred on June 24. Today, we continue to support them and their decision to concur with the District Attorney's recommendation of guilty plea to second-degree murder charges. It is my sincere hope that this decision will bring the Hollis family comfort as they remember an exceptional woman and officer who was devoted to her family and friends, her community, and to the citizens of Denver."

Read the plea agreement below.

Rollin Oliver Plea Agreement

More from our Mile High Murder archives: "Thomas Guolee, white-supremacist-of-interest in Tom Clements killing, busted in Springs."


Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com


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6 comments
Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg topcommenter

Murdering police officers in Colorado, NEVER face sentencing ANYWHERE near what this young man is to receive !

11er
11er

Normally i have negative things to say about cops, mostly because they do bad shit to people. But this really hurt me when i heard it. i lived on the HILL for many years and had to move to the CHICAGO area. i have a DENVERITE feeling about the Mile-hi. i make it back every 420, even /wo a med card i still meet good folks every time and we party hard. When i read on the web what had happened i had almost forgot that DENVER also had a GANG problem. No where near the what we do but this incident brought tears to my eyes. this DUMB ass is just like the rest CLOSE YOUR EYES and FIRE into the crowd. i don't give a FUQ crip or blood when you kill innocent people you should die in prison, not 16-26 (you get that for a pound of weed some places) i just can't understand why none of these punks know how to use a weapon correctly. maybe they should take lessons from the 211..

mmjfreedomusa
mmjfreedomusa

I KNOW, I Facebook POSTED WARNINGS and COMPLAINED to ARGUS of HAZARDOUS work positions AND inadequate security at these BIG EVENT venues. WHO CARES, nothing was done! HOW MANY MORE WILL DIE, due to NEGLIGENCE VENUES, STAFFING COMPANIES and GREEDY PROMOTERS

actor345
actor345

you mad bro? you seem upset over a little thing like this

11er
11er

@actor345  yea MAN. it just hit me how people can be so careless with deadly weapons. If you have to take care of some BIZ. DO YOUR THING... But when you cause the pain of innocents. I believe in an EYE FOR AN EYE. any neo-nazi or other supremacy group are just kicked back. Damn they are slaying each other 100 times more than we would, But just as many innocents are killed by these non-aiming dummies and thats what upsets me.

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