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Wichitan pleads guilty to what witnesses called a revenge murder

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, June 23, 2014, at 4:33 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, June 23, 2014, at 4:33 p.m.

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A Wichita man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder involving a case that witnesses said was a revenge killing.

James Vell Holloman, 32, pleaded guilty Friday in Sedgwick County District Court to fatally shooting Stephen H. Smallwood outside Perfection Auto, 4150 S. Broadway, on Dec. 13, 2010, a court spokesman said Monday.

An aggravated battery charge was dropped. His sentencing is set for Aug. 27 by Judge Christopher Magana.

During testimony in October, witnesses said Holloman shot Smallwood, 41, because he thought Smallwood was involved in the killing of Holloman’s brother, Sammy “Ray Ray” Smith, in 2009.

A witness said Holloman’s father determined that Smallwood was involved in the killing of Smith. That case remains open.

Smallwood, who was the owner of Perfection Auto, was shot to death and another man was wounded as they sat in a car outside the business.

Holloman was transferred in August to the Sedgwick County Jail on the murder charge from a federal Louisiana prison, where was serving a 12-year term for weapons and conspiracy to commit robbery.

It was the second time he had been booked into the Sedgwick County Jail in connection with Smallwood’s homicide. He was also jailed on suspicion of murder, aggravated battery and a suspected parole violation on Dec. 17, 2010 – four days after Smallwood was shot to death – but was released because authorities didn’t have enough evidence to charge him immediately.

Holloman was on parole at the time of Smallwood’s killing, according to Kansas Department of Corrections records.

He had been paroled in-state on Jan 6, 2010 – about 11 months before Smallwood was killed – and was on supervised release following a 2002 conviction of an aggravated robbery conviction in Sedgwick County.

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rickplumlee.

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