Monterey County

Preliminary hearing set for convicted rapist in Christina Williams murder case

Convicted rapist pleads not guilty in...

SALINAS, Calif. - UPDATE: 9/13/2017 The man accused of kidnapping and killing 13-year-old Christina Williams nearly two decades ago was back in court Wednesday to set a preliminary hearing date. 

Charles Holifield is currently serving 25 years-to-life for previous convictions. 

He will be back in court on October 11 for a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. 

PREVIOUS STORY: 

 05/09/17 9:45 p.m.: Convicted rapist Charles Holifield pleaded not guilty to murder and kidnapping charges for the killing of Christina Williams nearly two decades ago. 

Williams, 13, disappeared on June 12, 1998. Seven months later, her remains were found in a remote area of Fort Ord, where she went to walk her dog and never returned.

Holifield was a person of interest until the case went cold.   

During his arraignment Tuesday, Holifield appeared defiant – holding up his middle finger in a courtroom with Williams’ family, friends and half a dozen reporters.

For family friend Maegan Ruiz-Ignacio, coming face-to-face with the accused killer sparked a moment of reflection on what should have been a normal day for the teen.

“She just celebrated her 13th birthday. Come on. She was in her kitchen cooking her favorite dish with her mom. And then an hour later, Greg comes home without Christina," Ruiz-Ignacio said.

For 19 years, the Williams family searched for answers as investigators looked for clues.

On April 6, investigators announced newly discovered DNA evidence point to Holifield as the suspect in Williams’ murder.

Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo filed charges against Holifield a week later, including first-degree murder and kidnapping.

"We have legal guidelines for filing charges, and we proceed on those cases that we feel confident on," said Assistant District Attorney Jeanine Paccioni.  

Holifield had been serving 25 year-to-life at Valley State in Chowchilla for previous convictions, and he was transferred to Monterey County for trial proceedings.

For the Williams' family and friends, this may be the beginning to finding closure.

"Mike and Alice are just… it just peeled off that big scab that never healed. Everybody copes, and moves on, but their life has halted," Ruiz-Ignacio said.

Holifield is represented by the Monterey County Public Defender's Office.

His bail is set at $3 million, and he will be held at the California Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, next to the Salinas Valley State Prison, during his court appearances.

Holified waived his right to a preliminary hearing within 10 days and the right to a jury trial within 60 days.

Holifield will be back in court to set a preliminary hearing June 28 at 8:30 a.m.

PREVIOUS STORY: Suspect Charles Holifield, accused of kidnapping and killing a Seaside 13-year-old girl nearly two decades ago, was arraigned on those charges in a Monterey County courtroom Tuesday afternoon.

Holifield pleaded not guilty and will be represented by the Monterey County Public Defender's Office.

The Monterey County District Attorney's Office said his bail is $3 million and he will be held at the California Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, next to the Salinas Valley State Prison, during his court appearances.

Holified waived his right to a preliminary hearing within 10 days and the right to a jury trial within 60 days.

Holifield was transferred to Monterey County from Valley State Prison in Chowchilla, where he's been serving 25 years-to-life for previous convictions.

In April, Flippo announced Holifield would be brought to Monterey County, where he's accused of killing 13-year-old Christina Williams after she went to walk her dog near Fort Ord on June 12, 1998 and never returned.

Her body was not found until almost seven months later. Her disappearance shook the county and the nation.

The FBI offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Holifield will be back in court to set a preliminary hearing June 28 at 8:30 a.m.


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