Woman sentenced for her role in death of deputy; family says justice not served
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IDAHO FALLS – Emotions were high as Jenna Holm, who was charged with felony aggravated assault in the death of a Bonneville County Sheriff’s deputy, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one and a half years concurrent after accepting a plea agreement.
During a court hearing before District Judge Dane Watkins Thursday, the plea agreement was read, which stated the charge of felony aggravated assault would be dropped, and the charges would be changed to misdemeanor exhibition of a deadly weapon and misdemeanor resisting or obstructing officers.
Holm was given the recommended sentence for both misdemeanor charges, but because she has already served 19 months, she will receive credit for that time, meaning she has already served her sentence.
Family impact statements
Bonneville County Sheriff’s Deputy Wyatt Maser was killed in May 2020, when he and another deputy, Ben Bottcher, encountered a distraught Holm in the early morning hours. She was wielding a machete on Bone Road east of Idaho Falls. When driving to the scene responding to a call for backup, Sgt. Randy Flagel hit and killed Maser. The deputy left behind his wife and young daughter.
During the hearing, victim impact statements were read by Maser’s wife, Paige Maser; Maser’s father, Chris Maser; and a statement was read from Maser’s mother, Sandy Arnold.
“You have taken zero responsibility for your actions, and it is heartbreaking,” Chris Maser said. “I hope someday, Sgt. Randy Flagel will be held responsible for his part in Wyatt’s death as well.”
LISTEN TO THE VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENTS IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE
Members of Maser’s family tell EastIdahoNews.com they did not agree with the plea agreement and sentencing. They are upset with how the tragic death of their loved one has been handled by the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office.
Sandy Arnold, Maser’s mother, said justice had not been served.
“We as a family do not believe the sentencing was appropriate for her actions and her criminal history. We absolutely believe that she should’ve done more time in jail,” Arnold said. “This is not justice for Wyatt.”
The family has been in contact with Bonneville County Prosecutor Randy Neal and says the prosecutor’s and sheriff’s offices have let them down.
“We want to make it clear that we don’t feel that two misdemeanor charges in any way cover the loss of my husband and the role that Jenna Holm played in that event,” says Paige Maser. “Jenna Holm was not the only person responsible for my husband’s death. She was the catalyst and the start of everything that happened, and nobody would’ve been there if it wasn’t for her, but Deputy Bottcher also made a fair amount of mistakes during that whole event.”
Neither Flagel nor Bottcher were charged in connection with Maser’s death. The family states that this was the wrong choice, and one they have never supported.
“I didn’t agree with this in the beginning, and I still don’t agree with it, and now the statute of limitations has passed,” says Paige Maser. “And there is no way to go back in time and charge Flagel with vehicular manslaughter because the prosecutor’s office failed. To me, it just feels like you can get away with murder in this county, and nobody cares. And that’s just wrong.”
“We fell below standard”
During the hearing on Thursday, Neal addressed the concerns and apologized to the family. He said if this case went before a jury trial, there was not enough evidence to convict Holm beyond a reasonable doubt.
“During the course of this prosecution, we fell below standard. And I apologize to Paige and Sandy and Chris for that,” said Neal, who was sworn in last month. “The decision to reduce the felony charge had nothing to do with compassion, it had nothing to do with mercy and justice. I am not giving this defendant the benefit of the doubt because I want to. It is only because I feel in my heart, that I am compelled by the law to do so.”
Neal issued a statement after the sentencing that can be found here.
WATCH JENNA HOLM’S APOLOGY:
Holm addressed the family before sentencing, apologizing for her actions and the events of that night.
“I just want to apologize to the family, the wife, mother, father, the daughter,” said Holm. “I feel very bad. From the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry. I wish I could take back everything from that night. I’m gonna do better in life.”