January 10, 2013

Tammy Cole, mother of murdered brothers, gamely pushes on

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On Wednesday, January 9, 2013, Tammy Cole, mother of Gage and Derek Greene is suing Rory Holland for the murder of her sons. Here she listens to testimony from the first witness. Trial was continued when Rory Holland, who was going to represent himself and was in prison in Thomaston, was going to be about two hours late and the Cole did not want to wait.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Attorney for Tammy Cole, Scott Giese, begins the trial by questioning the first witness. Trial was continued when Rory Holland, who was going to represent himself and was in prison in Thomaston, was going to be about two hours late and the plaintiff did not want to wait.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

Trouble between Holland and the Greene brothers began on May 12, 2009.

Derek was walking past Holland’s house on South Street, smoking a cigarette, when Holland stopped him and asked him if he had another cigarette. Derek said it was his last one but agreed to share it, Cole said.

“Derek was just friendly with everyone,” she said.

The two sat on the porch of Holland’s home, and Holland invited him into the house. As they stood, Holland slid his hand down Derek’s pants, accosting him “skin to skin,” Cole said.

Derek punched Holland, and punched him again when police were there. Derek was arrested, and Holland got a restraining order against him, she said.

From that point on, Holland had it out for both Greene brothers, though Gage hadn’t been part of the encounter, Cole said.

On the night leading up to the murder, Derek, 21, and Gage, 19, had a party at Gage’s apartment down the street from Holland’s house, celebrating Gage’s plan to move out soon. Cole said her sons drank like other teenagers and young adults.

They walked to another friend’s house before midnight on June 29, 2009, and were walking back past Holland’s house close to 1 a.m. on June 30.

Cole said Holland was dressed in black, standing behind the tall fence on his property, and surprised her youngest son as he walked by.

Gage shoved Holland, and Holland pulled a gun from his waistband and shot him in the chest. Derek was on the other side of South Street, Cole said, and Holland shot him twice as he moved toward Holland.

Derek left a trail of blood to where he collapsed in a neighbor’s driveway.

Holland was convicted of both murders in November 2010 and sentenced the next February to life in prison.

Cole recalls the night she learned that her boys had been shot. She was living in Buxton, and awoke from a deep sleep to a phone call from a friend.

“You need to get someone to drive you to the hospital now,” Cole recalled her friend telling her.

Her sons had been shot by a man whose name she had never heard: Rory Holland.

She distinctly remembers the moment it struck her that both sons were dead. She stood in the kitchen of her home, gripping the counter with both hands as she tried to regain her breath. She looked at the clock. It read 1:07 a.m.

“I knew. I knew,” Cole said.

She later learned that Derek had been declared dead at 1:07 a.m.

“That’s all I kept saying the whole way there, was 'I know they’re gone,’” Cole said.

More than 1,200 people attended the funeral and wake. Cole said she went through it in a haze, an emotional wreck, recalling it more through photos than from actual memory.

After the funeral, people kept coming up to her, saying they were sorry for her loss. Her face was recognized from all the news coverage of the murders.

Her grief followed her, and everywhere she went, people’s well-intentioned words kept reminding her that her boys were dead.

“That’s basically why I moved away,” Cole said.

She no longer lives in Maine. But her sons are with her, in photographs in each room of her new home.

“I need to somehow start over and get my life back,” Cole said. “People just don’t know what you deal with. You may have your good days. You have your bad days.”

 

Staff Writer Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:
sdolan@pressherald.com

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