ALFRED — Tammy Cole’s voice trembled, a mix of grief and anger.

Grief for her two sons who were gunned down on a street in Biddeford 19 months ago, and for the older brother who still can’t bear to speak their names.

Anger for the man who pulled the trigger.

“Rory Holland has given me a life sentence,” Cole told the judge Monday as everyone in the packed courtroom listened in silence.

“Life for life. A life sentence for Derek. A life sentence for Gage,” she said. “I only wish there was a way that he could pay a life sentence for myself and my son Shawn also.”

Holland, 56, was tried and convicted in the fall for the murders of Derek Greene, 21, and Gage Greene, 19. A jury rejected his claim that he acted in self-defense when he shot the brothers at close range in front of his home on South Street around 1 a.m. on June 30, 2009.

On Monday, Cole and several of her relatives and friends came to York County Superior Court seeking the toughest possible punishment for Holland.

That’s what Justice Roland Cole delivered when he sentenced Holland to life in prison. Under Maine law, such sentences carry no chance of early release, meaning Holland will die in prison unless his conviction or his sentence is reversed on appeal.

Holland sat without expression and looked back calmly at the judge, who is not related to Tammy Cole, as he handed down the sentence.

In the rows of benches, Tammy Cole wept and then motioned to supporters to be quiet, as some erupted into cheers and clapping while Holland was handcuffed and taken out of the room.

The four-hour hearing, which at times nearly boiled over with emotion, provided a fitting conclusion to a case that deeply shook residents of Biddeford.

When it was his turn to address the court, Holland asked Justice Cole to impose the death penalty on him, even though he was aware that Maine does not execute prisoners.

“To impose any other sentence cheapens life, both mine and theirs,” Holland told the judge.

Holland, who moved to Maine in 1988 and to Biddeford around 1994, became a well-known figure in the city. He was a two-time mayoral candidate and a lightning rod for controversy. He was in the public spotlight as both a victim and an aggressor.

As a victim of racism, Holland saw his property vandalized repeatedly. People spray-painted racial slurs on his fence and paraded past his house wearing Ku Klux Klan-style sheets.

Holland also had a reputation for intimidation, and for provoking conflict with people he met while hanging around municipal meetings and in district court, where he often gave advice to defendants.

Two months before he shot the Greene brothers, Holland was charged with terrorizing. He allegedly threatened to kill Eric Cote, a lawyer who was representing Holland in a dispute with an ex-girlfriend.

Holland’s criminal history includes a conviction for attempted murder and assault and battery against his 16-month-old daughter in the late 1970s, when Holland lived in Kansas. He denied the charges.

On May 12, 2009, Holland had a run-in with Derek Greene. Biddeford police arrested Greene and another man for assaulting Holland on his porch. Greene said he punched the older man because Holland had grabbed his genitals. As part of his bail conditions, Greene was ordered to have no contact with Holland.

On the night of the shootings, the Greene brothers and several other young men who had been partying walked along South Street, where Holland was standing outside his house. Witnesses said Gage Greene approached and shoved Holland, who responded by pulling a handgun from his waistband and shooting the teenager in the chest.

Derek Greene ran toward the spot where his brother had fallen, and Holland shot him in the chest and abdomen.

On Monday, Holland had two chances to address the court: once during the defense team’s motion for acquittal – which was denied by Justice Cole – and again just before he was sentenced.

He was articulate and intense, quoting from the Bible and from Shakespeare, often gesturing with his hands and repeating his phrases slowly for emphasis.

His statements were sometimes contradictory, and occasionally it was hard to tell whether Holland was speaking seriously or trying to make a point through cleverness and understated sarcasm.

He used a chalkboard to diagram his street and the spots where the Greene brothers fell. Holland suggested that if the state’s witnesses in the trial were to be believed, some other gunman must have fired the fatal shot into Derek Greene’s chest because Holland would have been too far away. A reasonable jury would have considered that, he contended.

But Holland never denied shooting the brothers. He described the Greenes and their friends that night as a “pack of wolves” who came to his property looking for blood.

“Because they hazarded their lives and lost them of their own free will does not make me a murderer,” he said.

Holland said that if the behavior of the Greene brothers and their friends is acceptable to the justice system, “then who needs the Klan?”

“I decided that it would be better to be judged by 12 than to be buried by six,” he said.

Holland said a prayer for the brothers, saying at one point: “Blessed be the lord, the true judge, who justly gave Derek and Gage Greene their death.”

That nearly sent the courtroom into chaos, as Tammy Cole stood and walked out. Several of the brothers’ friends also left in anger. Cole returned in a few minutes, after regaining her composure.

About 10 court security officers and York County sheriff’s deputies stood at various spots in the room. Four stood between Holland and the rows in back where the Greenes’ supporters sat.

Outside the courthouse just minutes after the sentence was handed down, Tammy Cole shouted a cheer of joy and gathered about 20 relatives and friends.

“Take a knee for the boys,” she said, and they all knelt together. “We love you. We did it. Now you can rest in peace.”

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at: [email protected]