Four persons were indicted yesterday by a Fairfax County grand jury in connection with a murder-for-hire killing of a service station operator last Jan. 31.
The grand jury returned capital murder indictments against Jamie A. Scarborough, 44, who is accused of hiring two men to kill her estranged husband, George, and Betty M. Holler, 38, who has admitted in court to being the go-between in the plot.
James T. Clark Jr. and Charles D. Stewart, two 21-year-olds from Clinton, Md., were indicted on charges of murder-for-hire and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Also, Daniel M. Coleman, 22, of Castle Hayne, N.C., was indicted on the charge of extortion in a matter related to the case. Extortion charges against Robert C. Ogden, 43, of Waynesboro, Va. were dropped.
Holler, 38, who gave 416 N. Howard St., Alexandria, as her address at the time of her arrest, was described recently by friends as a soft-spoken mother of two who kept to herself. These friends expressed shock at news accounts linking her to the alleged murder-for-hire plot.
But another side of the life of Betty Holler, as revealed in last week's court testimony and interviews with friends, was more complex than that of a work-a-day suburban dweller.
There were personal problems. Her 10-year-old son suffers from leukemia, one friend said. The father of her children is separated from the family, apparently living somewhere in Maryland. Betty Holler, another friend said, had several prescriptions "for her nerves." Friends said she had few possessions. She was laid off from her last job as a bookkeeper last October.
"Betty had a lot of problems," said a woman friend. "She worried a lot. She looked worn for her age. She needed a shoulder to cry on."
Bob Richardson, 34, an Alexandria cab driver, said that Holler and her children lived with him, his mother and his 11-year-old son from May to October last year in a two-bedroom apartment in Alexandria's Carydale East.
"I never knew her real name," Richardson said. "Betty always used a number of different names. She was definitely a mysterious woman. It's funny, but when I read in the papers what had happened to her I thought of something she said last December. She told me she could make a lot of money if she could find a 'hit man.' I thought she was joking."
Richardson said Holler - a thin woman with short, bleached-blonde hair and a fondness for miniskirts, turtlenecks and stretch pants - liked to go "nightclubbing." Another friend said she frequented neighborhood bars and bingo games.
"She used to tell us she was a nare for the Alexandria police," said Richardson. Holler, in a preliminary hearing last week in Fairfax General District Court, testified that Scarborough contacted her because she was familiar "with the drug scene."
Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan confirmed last week that Holler provided Fairfax police with information on persons selling drugs. But Horan said she could not be called a drug informant because she was not paid for her services.
Last October, after Richardson said the two parted company, Holler moved herself and her children to the Howard Street apartment in the low-income Shirley-Duke Housing complex, according to the rental management.
On Dec. 1, according to Alexandria marriage records, Betty Holler was married to a 33-year-old Jordanian. That night - the only night the couple spent together, according to a friend and to neighbors - was celebrated with three friends. One of them, a friend of Holler's said later, was an Alexandria hairdresser and his date for the evening, Jamie Scarborough.
Holler had told friends - including Richardson - that she was engaged to marry the Jordanian, who wanted to become an American citizen. "Betty told us he was wealthy and prominent, and that he was going to take her back to Jordan," one friend said in an interview last week. But the romance was shrouded in secrecy, and friends said they were never introduced to Betty's fiance.
When asked about the marriage in court last week, Holler denied receiving any money in connection with it. She also told the court she was uncertain of her marital status, and said she understood that her husband had asked for a "annulment."
"Betty refused to sign the papers that would allow (the Jordanian) to remain in the country," said one mutual friend who asked to remain anonymous. "I think he went back to his own country."
Holler and Scarborough later talked by telephone almost daily, according to Horan, and in January, Holler testified last week, Scarborough asked her if she would "engage in killing her (Scarborough's) husband."
Holler testified in court that she contacted Stewart, a young man she had met, according to friends, at the Carydale East.
Holler also testified that the two assailants were paid $7,000 in cash for their services. As for herself, she said in court, the only thing Jamie Scarborough gave her was a Ford LTD - with $2,500 left to be paid in monthly installments.