A Killeen man who was sentenced to life in prison after a jury convicted him in 2018 of an aggravated kidnapping in Harker Heights filed several lawsuits recently in two of Bell County’s district civil courts.
Tutankhamun Holt, 37, who is serving his prison time in New Boston, near Texarkana, filed his first petition in October in the 146th Judicial District Court and his second lawsuit in January in the 169th Judicial District Court.
Holt is suing his defense attorney adviser, the assistant district attorneys who prosecuted the case, the child victim, the victim’s father, and a Harker Heights police commander who investigated the case, according to court documents obtained by the Herald from the Bell County District Clerk’s office.
One of the defendants is Temple defense attorney Michael F. White, who was appointed by the court to be “stand-by counsel” to Holt, who represented himself.
White told the Herald in an email on Tuesday that a defense attorney being sued in civil court by a former client is uncommon although similar suits sometimes are filed in federal court.
“In 27 years, I have never been sued by an ex-client,” White said. “I still have not, as Tut represented himself. In summary, Tut has a fool for a client.”
Stand-by counsel are present in case the defendant changes his mind about representing himself and to serve as a legal resource, like a library, White said.
A separate lawsuit names Bell County assistant district attorneys Paul McWilliams and Leslie McWilliams, who prosecuted the case, and the three other defendants.
Paul McWilliams told the Herald that he could not comment on the case because it is being litigated.
On Oct. 11, 2018, after a trial, a Bell County jury took less than 30 minutes to return a guilty verdict for Holt on the first-degree felony charge with a weapons enhancement. Prosecutors argued that on Nov. 12, 2016, Holt, allegedly with the help of the girl’s mother and another man, kidnapped the girl who was then 7 years old.
The cases of Holt’s two co-defendants are still in progress.
The girl’s mother, Bobbi Battishia White, 40, was being held in the Bell County Jail on Thursday in lieu of bonds totaling $665,000 on four charges: aggravated kidnapping; injury to a child with bodily injury, a third-degree felony; interference with child custody, a state jail felony; and violation of bond or protective order, a Class A misdemeanor, according to jail records.
She was booked into jail on March 14, 2017.
A third co-defendant, Derrick Lamont Bailey, 28, also was listed in jail on a bond of $500,000 on a charge of aggravated kidnapping. He was booked into jail on Feb. 9, 2017. In August last year a jury trial for Bailey ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked.
Both Bobbi White and Bailey are scheduled for a jury trial on Aug. 10, according to the 27th Judicial District Court coordinator’s office.
The girl and her father were walking to their car after watching a movie at the Cinemark movie theater in Heights, when Bobbi White and Holt pulled up alongside them in a car, according to the arrest affidavit.
Holt punched the man in the stomach, and Bobbi White allegedly forced the child into the car. When the man returned to his car, he found his tires slashed. Bailey is accused of pointing a pistol at the father when he attempted to get his daughter out of the car.
The father told an officer that Child Protective Services is involved in a court case between himself and Bobbi White.
The girl later was located in Alabama after an Amber Alert was issued.
In court paperwork, Holt claimed that he and the girl’s father, Michael Rogers, “engaged in a mutual physical altercation in the parking lot of Cinemark…(and that the girl) was placed in the vehicle by her mother, Bobbi White, to prevent the child from witnessing the actions of Rogers and Holt.”
The first lawsuit names the assistant district attorneys; victims Rogers and his daughter, who now live out of state; and Sonja Clay, a Harker Heights police commander who investigated the case.
Holt claims malicious civil and criminal prosecution, defamation, emotional distress and false imprisonment, according to his petition filed on Oct. 25, 2019.
Holt claims that the McWilliams’s engaged in “malicious criminal prosecution” and that Clay initiated the child abduction investigation as part of a child custody battle between the child’s mother and father.
In their answer to Holt’s petition, Paul and Leslie McWilliams claim Holt’s statements “are not evidence but are merely unproved conclusions and accusations” and that they generally deny all the accusations. Additionally, they are protected by “prosecutorial immunity” because they acted in good faith, according to the document filed on Jan. 23.
The other defendants in the lawsuit also deny the allegations.
In her answer that was filed with the court on Dec. 17, 2019, Clay demands proof of the allegations, and claims to be “immune from liability and suit by virtue of governmental immunity” because she acted within her official capacity.
Rogers calls the lawsuit “frivolous and malicious,” according to his motion to dismiss filed on Jan. 17. He said that the lawsuit should be dismissed because he no longer resides in Texas.
A hearing is set for the case on July 1 in the 146th Judicial District Court, according to the court coordinator’s office. Holt likely will appear via telephone, according to court documents.
In February, Judge Jack Jones, who presides over the 146th Judicial District Court, recused himself from the case and a senior judge from the 38th Judicial District Court was assigned to hear it. The 38th covers Medina, Real and Uvalde counties.
In January, Holt filed a separate lawsuit against White, seeking $100,000 in “monetary relief,” the return of Holt’s cellphones that were subpoenaed in the case and the case file that includes discovery material, pretrial motions and other evidence.
White said that he was served notice of the lawsuit a few weeks ago and he will be filing a “general denial.”
He was not concerned about the $100,000 figure.
“Tut set his goals too low. Big deeds never come from small goals,” he said.
Holt claims that the phones were the property of Bobbi White and were not part of evidence in the case, according to Holts’ petition filed on Jan. 8.
“The reason for this request is to be able to effectively purport to the Court of Appeals the innocence of the petitioner,” Holt’s petition states, adding that the cellphones could “exonerate (Holt) and co-defendants.”
White said that he does not know where the cellphones are and they are not in his possession.
“After the trial, the phones were returned to the possession of the Bell County Sheriff’s Department,” White said.