Wanda Holloway

If you are a true crime buff from way back, like myself, then the name Wanda Holloway is not new to you.  By today's standard Wanda Holloway's crime was minor, especially considering no one died, although she did apparently try to have someone murdered.  But, minor or not, her motive for her crime has gone down in history as one of the more bizarre acts.  There have been books and movies made about her story and even one is considered nearly to be a comedy.

In January of 1991 a man by the name of Terry Harper contacted the police.  He claimed that his brothers ex-wife, Wanda Holloway, had contacted him about finding a hit man. A hit man for who and to do what though?  Well, according to Terry Harper, Wanda wanted him to find someone to kill a woman named Verna Heath.

By all accounts Verna was nothing more than a local suburban mom taking care of her children. Well, so was Wanda for that matter.  So why would one seemingly normal mother want have the other killed? Well the answer is what made this story the butt of jokes for years.  Wanda wanted Verna dead so that Verna's daughter, Amber would be so distraught that she would not want to continue being a cheerleader on her MIDDLE SCHOOL team and Wanda's daughter, Shanna would get the spot.  

Now, as crazy as that motive sounds to you and I, I can only imagine how crazy it sounded to the police when Terry Harper talked to them.  I know they hear crazy stories and motives but this would have to rank high above many others. But, because officers knew that if Verna Heath ended up dead and it was discovered they had done nothing about it when warned, they fitted Terry Harper with a recording devise and he went on his way.  

On January 14, 1991 Wanda met up with Terry again to discuss the plans.  She offered him about $2,000 of jewelry to carry out the murder.  In a murder for hire case officers need to have something exchanged and while it seems ridiculous that someone would commit a crime like this for such a measly "pay," the amount does not matter, as long as it is accepted.  As every day people we do not know that she could not have found a person who was not working with the police to take this payment, and that goes with ever case.  The following day officers showed up at Wanda's home in Channelview Texas and arrested her.

Wanda went to trial and was convicted and sentenced to 15 years.  However it was quickly discovered that one of the jurors had failed to disclose they were on probation for a possession of cocaine conviction and the trial was declared a mistrial.  Wanda would in the end plead "no contest" to solicitation of capital murder in order to receive a 10 year sentence and a $10,000 fine.  However, she would only serve about 6 months of that sentence.  The remaining 9.5 years was to be on probation and she was required to perform 1,000 hours in community service.  In October of 1994 a civil suit brought on by the Heath family was settled for $150,000.  That included $70,000 to Verna and her husband, $30,000 to their children, and $50,000 for legal expenses.  Whether or not the Heath family has ever seen a penny of that, I cannot say.  

Twenty years after the scandal Wanda's daughter spoke out to the media.  She had not spoken in all those years.  She explained how devastating her mothers actions had been to her.  Wanda became a laughing stock of her town, well, really the country.  People simply could not believe that a mother would go to those lengths simply to get her daughter on the middle school cheerleading team.  For Shanna's part she has said that she had never really enjoyed cheerleading but had continued to participate at her mothers urging.  Wanda had bought Shanna her first outfit when she was five years old.  Throughout the years Wanda had pushed Shanna through gymnastics and rigorous daily routines.  Psychologists believe Wanda did this because she had been raised in a home with a strict father who had not allowed such things as cheerleading. He was apparently very religious and the implication is that the outfits required would have been too revealing in his mind.  So, since Wanda had been unable to participate herself she had pushed her daughter to do so.  In the process it was Wanda's goal to make Shanna the most popular girl in school. After the scandal Shanna had been ridiculed, teased and ousted from friends, exactly the opposite of what Wanda had wanted.  

Shanna is now a grown woman, married, with children of her own.  She has said that before the scandal she and her mother were very close and while they have a relationship now, it has never been what it was.  


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