Prosecutors: North Side man killed elderly mother with cane after she discovered thefts

Marc Holliman | CPD

A Near North Side man suffocated his elderly mother with her own cane and then drove to downstate Illinois with her dead body in the front passenger seat this week, prosecutors said. Police in Dwight, Illinois, allegedly found the woman in her son’s car after he repeatedly tried to get officers to shoot him.

Marc Holliman, 53, is charged with first-degree murder and concealing a homicidal death in connection with the murder of his 81-year-old mother, Juanita, around 5 a.m. Monday inside an apartment they shared on the 100 block of West Delaware.

Juanita Holliman was sleeping on the living room couch when her son pressed her cane across her neck until she died, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said during a bond court hearing Wednesday morning. Murphy said investigators found “written correspondence” between the Hollimans that indicate the woman discovered her son was forging checks in his name to take money from her account.

Surveillance video shows Holliman dragging a heavy object from the home, putting it into the front passenger seat of his car, and covering it with cardboard boxes, Murphy said. Holliman then drove south through the city and headed toward Dwight, according to Murphy.

CPD cameras allegedly tracked him across the city. One camera, equipped with a heat sensor, allegedly detected warmth in the passenger seat where the woman’s body was concealed.

Holliman pulled into a gas station in Dwight and called 911 later Monday morning. He initially said he wanted to report a robbery but then told officers he was having a personal emergency. Eventually, he told the officers he no longer wanted their help, Murphy said.

Afterward, Holliman approached one of the officers who was sitting in a squad car with a pair of scissors in his hand and asked the officer if he would shoot him if he ran at the cop with scissors over his head, Murphy said. When the officer got out of his squad car, Holliman returned to his own vehicle and began driving back and forth between two businesses as police watched, according to Murphy.

Holliman, now bleeding from his wrists due to self-inflicted wounds, then approached another officer and repeatedly asked to be shot, Murphy said. Police called for an ambulance to treat Holliman.

Murphy said one officer received Holliman’s permission to turn off his car and lock it while he underwent treatment. The officer who reached into the car to get Holliman’s keys discovered Juanita Holliman’s body sitting under a box in the front passenger seat, Murphy said.

Holliman allegedly admitted to killing his mother. He told investigators from multiple agencies that his mother was sick and in pain and she asked him to kill her, Murphy said. But Holliman’s sister, who said she saw her mother last month and exchanged texts with her daily, allegedly told police that Juanita Holliman gave no indication that she wanted to die or was in distress.

A public defender said Holliman’s mental health has deteriorated since he underwent a “COVID procedure.”

“This is a horrible crime,” Judge Arthur Willis said after hearing the allegations. But the judge denied a state request to hold Holliman without bail.

“He’s a danger to no one but himself from what I’ve heard,” Willis said. The judge set bail at $500,000. Holliman will need to post $50,000 and go on electronic monitoring to get out of jail before trial.

An initial miscommunication between authorities in Dwight and Chicago indicated that Holliman made initial contact with officers in a police station, instead of a gas station.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is