Man charged with killing Kelli Bordeaux appears in court
by WNCN Staff
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -
Nicholas Holbert, who is accused of killing Fort Bragg-based Army medic Kelli Bordeaux, made his first court appearance Thursday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.
Holbert is charged with first-degree murder after Bordeaux’s body was discovered Wednesday morning. She had been missing for two years.
Holbert did not speak in court other than to say yes to judge David Hasty. Hasty chose to deny Holbert bond on the murder charge against him, and he doubled the bond to $250,000 on the kidnapping charge. Hasty appointed Holbert a public defender.
Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West said he will consider seeking the death penalty in the case.
"We'll continue to review everything that we currently have, and I'm sure there will be much more to come in as part of the investigative file," West said. "We'll have to review that file to see what, if any, aggravating circumstances existed to possibly make it a capital case."
West said he felt relieved to finally have someone charged in the two-year-old case. He said the police department and people in the community have continued to care about the case.
Tina Turner is one of those people who has been invested in the case. She helped organize many of the large searches in the days and months after Bordeaux disappeared.
"I don't want to use the word closure because closure to me means end. This certainly isn't the end. Her family still has a lot that they're going to go through. They're never going to have an end to this. Kelli is always going to be with them, always going to be on their mind," Turner said. "It just gives an opportunity to go on to the next phase. They can move forward and do the things that they need to do now."
David Marshburn of Smithfield said he had given police information that led them to the body.
The Fayetteville Observer said Holbert and Bordeaux arrived at the Froggy Bottoms bar together, according to the arrest warrants. The two got into an argument, the paper reported the warrants as saying, and Holbert knocked her out and killed her behind the bar.
On Wednesday, Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock said her body was found in a deeply wooded area along River Road about three or four miles from Froggy Bottoms bar on Ramsey Street. He said a citizen helped police locate her body.
Searchers had combed the areas around the bar for years looking for Bordeaux, but search organizer Al Mignacci said Thursday that the area where she was found had not been searched. Organizers said they had not received permission to search there because the company that owned the land was concerned about liability.
The body has been sent to the Chief’s Medical Examiner's Office in Raleigh for positive identification.
Holbert, 27, is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping. He is being held at the Cumberland County Detention Center with no bond.
Bordeaux' mother, Johnna Henson of St. Cloud, Fla., told the Associated Press that she got a call from Fayetteville Police Wednesday to tell her that her daughter had been found. Henson said investigators told her Holbert led police to the site of Bordeaux's grave.
"Mr. Holbert has been a person of interest in this case almost from the beginning," Medlock said Wednesday. "Holbert was on the scene [where Bordeaux was found] with our detectives earlier today and he shared some vital information."
Holbert had previously been arrested on an unrelated charge shortly after Bordeaux's disappearance. A registered sex offender, he was arrested for violation of his sex offender status, which requires him to provide a new address within 10 days of moving.
Bordeaux was 23 when she was last seen leaving the Froggy Bottoms bar around 1:20 a.m. on April 14, 2012. The bar's owner, Steve Cantrell, said Bordeaux was at the bar with Holbert, who lived in a tent behind the bar.
Holbert later told investigators that he gave Bordeaux a ride home from the bar, but said he dropped her off before they arrived at her house. "We believe he did offer her a ride and did give her a ride," Medlock said.
The Fayetteville Observer reported that police learned of two text messages sent from Bordeaux's cell phone after leaving the bar. One of them said she had arrived home, but investigators do not believe Bordeaux was the one who actually sent the message.
Medlock said investigators believe Bordeaux was dead when her body was dumped in the wooded area.
Medlock said police received "good assistance" from a citizen in the case but Medlock did not give details. RELATED STORIES