‘Kill, Keys, Money and Jewelry’
Holly Harvey, 15, had lived with her grandparents Carl, 74, and Sarah, 73, Collier at their Fayette County home in Georgia for just four months when she decided that she had had enough. Holly had no intention of going to church as her grandparents had hoped or conforming to the rules imposed on her. Nor did she want to give up her one true love: Sandra (Sandy) Ketchum, 16, whom she was forbidden to see.
Holly decided that she was not going to allow her grandparents to interfere with her decision-making any longer. She was going to live her life the way she deemed fit. So in the summer of 2004, she recruited her lover Sandy to assist her in a gruesome plan, which they believed would allow them “to gain freedom and be able to stay together forever,” according to the Associated Press. Their devious plot would eventually lead to the brutal murders of Carl and Sarah Collier.
According to Jon Shirek’s 11Alive.com article, the Colliers believed their granddaughter was up to no good, and they began to fear her. Holly had become increasingly abusive towards them; she had even begun to make death threats. It was so bad that Carl even approached his adopted son, Kevin, sometime in late July and told him that Holly wanted him dead, according to the report.
Neither Holly Harvey nor Sandy were secretive about their evil intentions; the girls were brazen enough to tell their friends that they were going to kill Holly’s grandparents. Moreover, both girls were actively looking for a gun, asking whomever they knew about how to obtain one so that they could carry out their plans. Although they did not succeed in finding one, they didn’t let it hamper their plans. On August 2, 2004, the two girls finally decided to act out their threats.
That evening, Sandy Ketchum, who had sneaked into Holly’s basement bedroom the previous day, talked about killing Holly’s grandparents. The girls reviewed their plan in detail, which had been broken down into four key steps. Just in case, Holly Harvey wrote the “to do” list on her arm in ink. The list read, “Kill, keys, money and jewelry,” according to Shirek.
The two girls began to smoke marijuana, hoping to lure the Colliers down into the basement with the smell. It didn’t take long for Holly’s grandparents to react. When Carl and Sarah reached the room, Sandy was already hidden behind the bed armed with a knife. Holly was also clutching a knife, waiting to lunge at whoever came at her first.
When the couple entered the room, an argument quickly ensued, and Holly Harvey stabbed her grandmother in the back. Carl and Sarah managed to wrestle her to the bed, trying to prevent her from stabbing her grandmother again, but Holly shouted for assistance. Sandy then leaped from behind the bed and got involved in the struggle.
During the attack, Sarah suffered more than 20 stab wounds to her chest and back before dying. Although Carl had also been stabbed repeatedly, he was able to run upstairs to the kitchen, where he tried to call the police. Holly chased after him and cut the phone lines. Rochelle Carter reported in The Atlanta Journal and Constitution that Carl tried to stop his granddaughter by throwing a coffee cup at her, but it didn’t work. Holly Harvey caught up to him and dealt the final fatal blows that left Carl lying face down on the kitchen floor in a pool of his own blood. He had sustained around 15 stab wounds to the chest and neck.
On The Run
After the brutal murders, the two girls scoured the house for money and jewelry, and found only the latter, which they placed in a bag along with some clothes and other items. They then grabbed Carl’s car keys and took off in his dark blue 2002 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. The two blood-soaked girls immediately drove to Griffin, Georgia and telephoned a friend named Sara P. (last name undisclosed), 16. They then went to her house. While there, Holly Harvey and Sandy explained that they had been mugged to account for the blood on their clothes, Sara later explained in an interview with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America. After the girls washed up and changed their clothes, Holly told Sara what really happened. Upon hearing the truth, Sara ordered the girls to leave her house and then informed her parents of the alleged murder.
A short while later, Sara called the police and tearfully told them what the girls had done. Following up on the call, the police immediately visited the Colliers home and found the bodies of Sarah and Carl. Shirek quoted Fayette County Sheriff Randall Johnson, who said, “I’ve never seen a crime this serious in the 28 years that I’ve been sheriff, of this magnitude, on kinfolks.” An arrest warrant was secured for Holly Harvey and Sandy, and officers quickly set out to find them and the stolen truck.
In the meantime, Holly Harvey and Sandy were at the beach on Tybee Island, located outside of Savannah, Georgia. While there, they met two brothers, Clayton, 22, and Brett, 14, who had just moved into a new house with their parents several hours earlier. The two girls, using the pseudonyms Jessica and Casey, told the brothers they had nowhere to go, and one of the girls mentioned that her grandmother just recently passed away, according to Tracey Christensen in an August 2004 article. Christensen reports that one of the girls claimed to have her grandmothers jewelry in her possession and asked Clayton to pawn it off for her, so she and her friend would have money. However, Clayton wouldn’t do it.
Having no money and nowhere to sleep, the girls asked if they could stay at the brothers house. The mother of the two young men gave permission for the girls to spend the night with the family. The next morning, those in the household awoke to more than two dozen police officers at the front door. Holly and Sandy had been traced through their mobile phone transmission signal.
The family stood in complete shock as Holly and Sandy were arrested for the murder of the Colliers. As they patted Sandy down, they discovered she had a knife in her pocket. Christensen quoted Lt. Col. Bruce Jordan of the Fayette County Sheriffs Office as saying that officers were led to believe that there was a possibility the girls planned to kill the boys mother in order to steal her car. Luckily, the family escaped injury.
At the time of the arrest, Holly Harvey surprised officers when she laughed as she walked past them. Jordan stated in his report that Holly acted callous and cocky, showing no remorse for the horrible crimes she committed. On the other hand, Sandy Ketchum did show regret for what she had done, and told officers that she would fully cooperate with them in their investigation.
Once the girls were in custody, the stolen truck was searched. Investigators found a bag of the girls belongings, which contained two bloodied knives and bloodstained clothes. Based on the evidence, there was little, if any, doubt that Holly Harvey and Sandy were responsible for the murders. However, what investigators and the girls families couldn’t fathom was why they would commit such atrocious acts. The question was left for the state and the girls attorneys to answer.
Carl and Sarah Collier couldn’t have children of their own, so they decided to adopt two children to raise as their own. According to Christensen, more than 30 years later, they looked with pride upon their adopted son, Kevin, who is active in the church and followed his fathers footsteps in working for Delta Air Lines. However, Christensen reported that when it came to their adopted daughter, Carla, the Colliers had reason to seek group prayer at their Baptist church.
Carla took a different path. Christensen said that Carla had two daughters fathered by two different men and that she was also a known troublemaker. In fact, Carla was arrested on a drug conviction and was imprisoned at the Metro State Prison in the spring of 2004. At that time, the Colliers decided to have Holly live with them. Holly’s father was unable to properly care for his daughter due to a car accident that left him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.
The Colliers had their hands full with Holly Harvey, who proved to be even more rebellious than her mother. She repeatedly tried to run away, although she was always brought back. No matter how much love and compassion the Colliers tried to show their granddaughter, they were rejected. It was clear that Holly Harvey was a deeply troubled young woman.
Following the murders, investigators found a poem written by Holly at the crime scene, which revealed valuable insight into her mental state leading up to the crimes. According to the Associated Press, the poem described how depressed she had been and that she cried herself to sleep. Even more troubling was a line of the poem that read, “All I want to do is kill,” the report stated. And kill she did.
Sandy also suffered her own problems growing up. Shirek suggested in an August 2004 11Alive.com article that her mother abandoned her when she was 15 months old. After that, she had three stepmothers, including one who was accused of physically abusing her. Having been abandoned or abused by the women closest to her in her family, Sandy looked for female companionship and acceptance elsewhere. She believed she found it in her relationship with Holly. The love Sandy received from her became so important in her life that she would do anything not to lose it– even kill.
On August 5, 2004, the girls appeared in bulletproof vests before a Fayette County magistrate court judge to hear the charges filed against them. Holly Harvey and Sandy were charged as adults with two felony counts of murder and two counts of malice murder. As the counts were being read aloud, Holly and Sandy sobbed, as if finally realizing the extent of their crimes.
In accordance with Georgia state law, the death penalty does not apply to their case, because Holly Harvey and Sandy are under 17 years of age. If the girls are convicted of the murders, they could face up to life in prison. After the charges were read, the girls were escorted to two separate detention centers, where they remained until their bond hearing.
Two weeks later the girls appeared before a Superior Court judge to find out if they could be released on bond. During the proceedings, Lt. Col. Bruce Jordan testified that Sandy was deeply affected by the crimes she committed. Shirek reported that Holly and Sandy were not only denied bond for felony and malice murder charges but also faced new charges of armed robbery. The judge declared the girls a flight risk and said that he would accelerate the time before trial.
Holly Harvey was found guilty and was given two life sentences in prison on April 13, 2005.
Sandy was given one.
credit murderpedia / Rachael Bell