Convicted Edmonton LRT killer Jeremy Newborn sentenced to life

In a lengthy 30-page decision, an Edmonton Justice handed down a life sentence with no chance of parole for 15 years to Jeremy Newborn. He was convicted of beating 29 year old John Hollar to death on the LRT in 2012.

Justice orders no chance of parole for 15 years in the beating death of John Hollar

The Hollar family speaks to media outside the Edmonton Law Courts following the sentencing of Jeremy Newborn. (CBC)

In an Edmonton courtroom Friday afternoon, quiet tears and hugs of relief capped off the Hollar family's five-year ordeal to see justice for their son and brother.

More than a dozen family members and their supporters took up one side of the courtroom to hear how long John Hollar's killer, Jeremy Newborn, would remain behind bars.

In a lengthy 30-page decision, Court of Queen's Bench Justice B.R. Burrows handed Newborn a life sentence with no chance of parole for 15 years.

Waiting for the decision to be read was agony for Hollar's mother, Brenda, who's been in court for every Newborn appearance since her son's death.

"Just please be with us. Please have the same thoughts we are," she recalled thinking.

"It was scary, I didn't know what to think but it turned out good for us. We were just hoping for the outcome and we got it. It's good. It's good."

Clad in a bright orange jumpsuit Newborn yawned several times in the prisoner's box while Burrows read his decision.

The only sign of any nervousness about his future was his left leg bouncing up and down constantly while his hands remained gripped tightly between his thighs. 

A violent disposition

Newborn was found guilty of second-degree murder last May in Hollar's beating death.

Jeremy Newborn was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years in the LRT beating death of 29-year-old John Hollar.

The 29-year-old was viciously attacked on an LRT train on Dec. 28, 2012.

In a disturbing video shown during the 2016 trial, Newborn could be seen stomping on Hollar's head repeatedly, even after he lost consciousness.

Two days later, Hollar was taken off life support.

Newborn's conviction carried an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 to 25 years.

Defence lawyer Simon Renouf argued the automatic life sentence amounted to cruel and unusual punishment because of Newborn's very low IQ and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder-like symptoms.

However, Crown prosecutor John Watson argued Newborn deserved a life sentence with no chance of parole for 16 to 18 years.

Burrows ultimately decided the sentence he passed was necessary to demonstrate to Newborn, and others, the severity of his crime.

He said he also felt compelled to protect the community from what he called Newborn's "violent disposition."

Moving forward

Brenda Hollar said it's been a long five years and the family is looking forward to finally putting the ordeal behind them.

"We can finally move forward a little. You know, it's never going to go away but we can move forward," she said.

You know, it's never going to go away but we can move forward.- Brenda Hollar, John's mother

Her niece, Deborah Gullickson, echoed that sentiment, saying justice had been served in the death of her cousin. 

"We know that Jeremy Newborn is going away for the next 15 years and probably longer because of his behaviours. So we're very satisfied with the outcome," she said.

"So for my auntie, for his brother, for his sisters, it's all about remembering John and celebrating John and honouring John every day as they move forward." 

Brenda said it's still difficult for her to talk about her son and all that the family will miss out on.

"Amazing kid, short life. I don't get to see him have babies or anything like that but we're a strong family and we'll never forget John."

About the Author

Alicia Asquith


Alicia Asquith is an award winning journalist based in Edmonton. She is also the host and producer of the CBC Alberta television news on weekends. She's previously worked as a reporter and video journalist in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Venezuela.