November 16, 2016
Steven Frederick Spears was executed by the state of Georgia on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. Steven was pronounced dead at 7:30 pm EST, inside the execution chamber at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia. Steven was 54 years of age. He was convicted of the murder of 34-year-old Sherri Holland on August 25, 2001, in her Dahlonega, Georgia home. Steven has spent the last nine years of his life on Georgia’s death row.
Steven had previously worked at ConAgra’s Gainsville plant, where he and Sherri Holland met.
Steven Spears and Sherri Holland had dated for approximately two years, but had broken up prior to August 25, 2001. Spears had warned Sherri while they were dating that if he discovered she was with another man, he would kill her. He had also told several other people about the threat. After breaking up, Spears suspected that Sherri was romantically involved with another man.
Spears, as he later confessed to the sheriff’s department, concocted four plans to kill Sherri. Prior to August 25, 2001, Spears snuck into Sherri’s house while she was out. For his first plan, he entered the crawl space under her house and used screws to attack wires to the drain pipe and cold water pipe of her shower. He planned to attack the wires to her home’s circuit board, causing her to be electrocuted while she showered during a lighting storm. He later bragged about his plan, “I came up with that on my own. Pretty creative, ain’t it.”
His second plan had him carving a baseball bat from a tree branch, leaving it under a canoe at her house and then beating Sherri to death with it. Spears’ third plan had him crawling into the house through the air conditioner vent and leaving a loaded shotgun for future use. With this plan, Spears planned to spy on her, catch her with someone else and shoot them both.
The fourth plan was the plan Spears ultimately ended up using. On August 24, 2001, Spears illegally entered Sherri’s home once again. Spears knew that Sherri’s son would be out-of-town that night, so he hid in the son’s closet until around 2:30 or 3:00 am the following morning, waiting until he was certain that Sherri was asleep. Spears entered the bedroom, and attempted to bind her hands and feet with duct tape. Sherri fought back and attempted to flee the bedroom, causing Spears to strike her. They continued fighting until Spears ultimately choked her into unconsciousness. Spears then dragged Sherri back to the bedroom, where he bound her hands and feet with duct tape, wrapped her face and mouth with duct tape, and secured a plastic bag over he head with duct tape. He then laid her head on a pillow “so her face wouldn't be smashed on the floor.” Spears claims her last words were “I love you.”
Spears then locked her in her room, and stole her purse and car. He later returned to house realizing he had forgotten to steal the cigarette case in which Sherri kept her money. Spears later abandoned the automobile, fearing it could be tracked. For ten days he camped out in the woods, sometimes fearing he was being tracked. He, at least twice, considered killing others who he thought was following him.
Police began investigating Sherri’s murder the following day and was able to link Spears to the crime through items bought to set up his additional murder plans for Sherri. Police arrested Spears ten days later, when he was picked up walking along side the highway. Spears claims he was coming to turn himself in. Spears also later confessed that he would commit the murder again.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Sherri Holland. Please pray for strength for the family of Steven Spears.