Victims in Guilford shooting spree laid to rest
Posted December 2, 2011 2:26 p.m. EST
Updated December 2, 2011 6:57 p.m. EST
Pleasant Garden, N.C. — An extended Guilford County family and their community mourned Friday and prepared to bury five children killed in what investigators have described as a family massacre.
Mourners packed into a Baptist church in their hometown near Greensboro for a collective funeral for the five children between 8 and 17 gunned down in a shooting rampage by Mary Ann Holder, 36.
Flowers adorned the caskets, and one even had a University
Officers say Holder apparently shot one of her sons and three other children while they slept at her Pleasant Garden home, shot and wounded her married former lover, then killed her younger son. Holder then killed herself.
Four of the children survived for days with what Sheriff B.J. Barnes said were bullet wounds to the head. Holder left two notes apologizing for the pain she'd caused, Barnes said.
Holder's mother Frances said the family was praying at least one of the children would survive to describe what happened. Frances Holder said she can't believe her daughter was responsible for the mass killings because she cared deeply for her children.
"People are calling my daughter a deadbeat mother, she was a no-good mother," Frances Holder said Thursday outside the church where mourners visited with the family. "She was very close to her children. I don't know what happened. I have no answers. I'm waiting for answers, just like everyone else."
Mary Ann Holder is accused of killing her two sons: Robert Dylan Smith, 17, and Zachary Smith, 14. Barnes said she also killed the niece and nephew she took into her home when her sister died: Richard Brian Suttles, 17, and Hannaleigh Suttles, 8. She also mortally wounded Makayla Leigh Woods, Robert's 15-year-old girlfriend.
Holder's ex-husband says, Rocky Smith, said the family donated the organs and tissues of Zachary Smith and Hannaleigh and Richard Suttles and that nearly two dozen people have been helped.
Mary Ann Holder had been having an affair with Randall Lamb, 40, for more than three years, and its aftermath created months of bitter accusations between Holder, Lamb and Lamb's wife, including allegations of stalking and harassment.
Jennifer Lamb had prepared but not yet filed a potentially costly lawsuit against Holder accusing her of alienating the affections of her husband, investigators said.
Mary Ann Holder met Randall Lamb the night before the shooting rampage to give him a $10,000 check in an apparent settlement aimed at staving off the threatened lawsuit, criminal investigators said in a search warrant. Holder then asked to meet him again the next morning in a community college parking lot.
That meeting ended with Holder firing several shots at Randall Lamb and wounding him in the shoulder. He recovered in a hospital and has returned home.