Ronald Holt walked into the Cook County Criminal Courts Building this morning with his son still fresh on his mind.
Jury selection soon was to get underway today for the trial of a 17-year-old accused of gunning down Holt’s16-year-old son, Blair, on a CTA bus in May 2007.
Holt expected to sit through hours of jury selection; instead, he received an unexpected surprise.
The defendant, Michael Pace, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery.
Pace faces 45 years to life in prison for the murder charges and an additional 6 to 30 years for the aggravated battery charges.
On Monday, Pace's co-defendant, 17-year-old Kevin Jones, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
When I spoke to Ronald Holt this morning, his head hung low. He said no one wins with cases like these and his family just wanted to move forward and remember Blair.
Life will never be the same for Ronald Holt and his family, but I hope today's criminal proceedings help them to move forward, at least a little bit.