Texas Ranger Takes Stand In Murder Trial For Suspected Serial Killer

Tuesday, May 25th 2021, 4:33 pm


A Texas Ranger took the stand again Tuesday in the murder trial for suspected serial killer William Reece.

Jim Holland testified that in February 2016 at the end of an almost 5-hour long interview with Reece, Reece pulled photos of four victims from a pile of pictures. When he pulled the pictures, Reece told Holland to come back on Monday, and he'd talk about the women in the photos.

One of them was Tiffany Johnston. The others were three people from Texas, adults Kelli Cox and Jessica Cain, and 12-year-old Laura Smither.

Prosecutors have said that physical evidence has linked Reece to Johnston's murder and the killing of Smither. 

Swabs taken from Johnston's body partially matched the DNA sample an investigator took from Reece in 2013. Reece was linked to Smither's murder when tests showed fibers from her blue socks, the only clothes she was found wearing matched fibers found in Reece's truck.  

They also said that evidence prompted him to confess to the murders of Cox and Cain.

Holland interviewed Reece again a few days later on February 15, during the interview Reece told Holland he would give him the information if his requests were met. Those included a room in a hotel during searches, Reece's jail trustee position handed to a friend, and all the agreements documented on paper.  

That night, Reece took Holland to a field in rural Texas, in Brazoria County. They stopped at three locations, the third is where Reece said he buried Cox. Crews began to dig the next day. 

While the excavation happened, the defendant told Holland what happened the day Cox disappeared.  

Holland told the jury Reece admitted to killing Cox in 1997 after she spilled pop on him when they bumped into each other. The testimony said Reece pushed Cox against his truck, the force broke her neck. Reece said he then put her body in the crew cab of his truck and spent the night in the cab portion.  

Holland testified that Reece drank a bottle of whiskey, and drove from Denton County to Brazoria County, which the ranger said could take up to ten hours, with Cox's body in the truck. Reece then allegedly took a bulldozer into the field, dug a hole, and buried Cox.  

Excavation crews searched for eight days at that site but did not find Cox's body. 

Holland said Reece became visibly anxious they hadn't found Cox and began to talk about Jessica Cain's murder at the dig site.

Holland testified that Reece told him he was at a Bannigan's, the last place Cain was seen alive, in 1997. 

Reece said Cain dented his car, and they argued in the parking lot. Holland said Reece explained that Jessica then got him to pull over on the expressway to confront him again, and he strangled her between their cars. 

Holland also said while he testified, that he didn't completely believe Reece saying, "we were never going to get the truth, we just wanted the bodies." 

Reece did take investigators to a second location, where he said he dumped Cain's body.  

Prosecutors have had Holland on the stand since Monday morning. The defense has yet to cross examine him.