20-Year-Old NY Cold Murder Case Reopened

NBC New York

Maeve Bidonde, Staff Writer

In 2003, 20-year-old college student Megan McDonald was murdered and just last year investigators arrested a suspect in her murder. The suspect’s name is Edward Holley, McDonald’s ex-boyfriend. The 42-year-old was eventually released due to a failed indictment which is legally required in six days, leaving the McDonald family blaming The Orange County DA for this. Investigators believe the motive of her death to have involved money. 

According to IOHUD, McDonald was a college student attending classes at SUNY Orange Community College while also waitressing tables at American Café restaurant in a mall not far from her school. Around the time of her death, McDonald had broken up with Holley when he owed her money. Instead of paying her the money he owed, he beat her to death. McDonald was the daughter of an NYPD detective, who described her as a bright and happy girl. Her family was devastated by the news of her murder and hoped for the day her killer would be found. For the past twenty years the Megan McDonald case was cold, until new technology was developed which helped discover Holley’s DNA on the victim’s cell phone. Signaling him as the prime suspect in the murder case. 

“My sister was wonderful,” said Karen Whalen, McDonald’s sister, to ABC 7 News. “The whole point of this for us, for our family, our entire goal is to get my sister back, is to stop talking about how she died.’” 

Even though the McDonald family saw the killer have his day in court, they couldn’t help but wonder why it took so long to get to this point. It was then that they discovered District Attorney, David Hoovler, failed to get the indictment in six days which he had to do by law. The McDonald family and the Detectives’ Endowment Association now blame the DA for this act of injustice. 

However, the DA recalled last year appointing a special prosecutor in the case during his time as a Defense Attorney to the best of his defense. Hoolver defended a client who had information on Megan’s death. Despite being put in a gray area, the McDonald family still holds him for the blame.  

“Any suggestion that I did anything to interfere with the investigation into Megan McDonald’s death is as categorically false as it is offensive. Since taking office, eleven years after this horrific crime occurred, I never denied a single investigative request of the New York State Police,” said the DA as according to ABC 7 News.

There were also some questions raised about Orange County Judge Craig Stephen Brown. According to an Internal State Police Report, the County Judge asked investigators if his brother-in-law was a suspect and proceeded to deny two search warrants. Either way, Edward Holley walks free and actions to get him back in police custody are yet to be seen.

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