March 15, 2013

Mother of slain Biddeford brothers awarded $2.4 million

Tammy Cole, whose sons were gunned down by Rory Holland, says she aims 'to make his life hell.'

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

ALFRED — A judge awarded $2.42 million Friday to the mother of two young men who were murdered in Biddeford in 2009, in a civil judgment against her sons' killer.

click image to enlarge

Tammy Cole testifies about the death of her sons Derek and Gage Greene during a damages hearing in civil court at York County Superior Court in Alfred on Thursday, March 7, 2013.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

Rory Holland

Tammy Cole filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Rory Holland after he was convicted in December 2010 of gunning down Derek and Gage Greene in front of Holland's home on June 30, 2009.

Superior Court Justice Andrew Horton awarded Cole $720,000 for wages that Derek, 21, and Gage, 19, would have earned in their lives; $200,000 for pain and suffering; $1 million for her loss; and $500,000 in punitive damages.

"The impact of this tragedy on the family and friends of Derek and Gage cannot be overstated, but it has been especially hard on Ms. Cole," Horton wrote in his six-page judgment. "Almost by definition, any act sufficient to support a conviction for intentional or knowing murder based on proof beyond a reasonable doubt is an act sufficient to justify an award of punitive damages."

Reached by phone Friday, Cole said she's happy with the judgment but doesn't expect to see much of the money, with Holland serving a life sentence in prison.

"I just want to make his life hell," Cole said. "Now I can go in and receive half of what he receives or makes in jail."

If she can, Cole said, she wants to deprive Holland of being able to afford even a toothbrush in prison, to punish him for killing her sons.

Holland, 58, acted as his own attorney in the civil case, but refused to board the prison transportation vehicle and appear in York County Superior Court for a hearing held March 7.

Cole and her lone surviving son, Shawn Carson, testified at that hearing.

Cole said she could not sleep the night before the hearing, anticipating Holland questioning her face to face.

"Normally, Rory has to upstage everyone," Cole said. "I'm glad it worked out the way it did. I thought the reason he didn't show up was he knew he couldn't win. It wasn't going to go the way he wanted this time."

Holland upended the first scheduled hearing in the civil case, in January, by not getting on a prison transport vehicle until late in the day.

The hearing was postponed because Holland would have arrived as the court was closing for the day.

Cole said she didn't know what Holland might do for the March hearing.

"I was so worked up, scared about having to talk to the man who killed my kids," she said. "That really had me torn up."

In December, Horton awarded Cole a summary judgment finding Holland liable for the wrongful deaths of her sons. At the hearing on March 7, Cole's attorney, Scott Giese, sought $3.25 million.

Cole said that after her sons were murdered, she collapsed emotionally.

She slipped into a depression, entered counseling and relied on medication to help her cope.

During that time, her surviving son became her crutch.

"It cut my life in half. Shawn is all I have left," she said. "If he were not here, I would not be here."

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

sdolan@mainetoday.com

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