Polk County in Iowa
Polk County in Iowa
Des Moines in Polk CountyDes Moines in Polk County

Harold Ronald Holt


Harold Ronald Holt
24 YOA
Case Number: 66-00274
1138 Tenth St.
Des Moines, IA
Polk County
Date of Crime: January 1, 1966
Date of Death: January 17, 1966


Case details provided by the Iowa DCI

Harold Ronald Holt, 24, was shot in the abdomen in the early morning hours on Jan. 1, 1966, after attending a New Year’s Eve party at a friend’s home. He died two weeks later on Monday, Jan. 17, of complications from a “perforatory wound” in a lung.

Polk County Medical Examiner Dr. Leo Luka said Holt suffered wounds in the liver, diaphragm and lung.

Holt, who resided in Des Moines at 1040 Sixteenth St., had spent the evening at the home of Lawrence Robinson in Des Moines when a feud erupted between two other men at the party.

Douglas McArthur Wilson, 21, of 1549 Eighteenth St., Des Moines, and Herman Mure, 21, of 815 Crocker St., went outside, and Holt followed.

Courtesy Cedar Rapids Gazette, Jan. 17, 1966 (Click to read full story)

Courtesy Cedar Rapids Gazette, Jan. 17, 1966 (Click to read full story)

According to a Cedar Rapids Gazette article dated Jan. 17, 1966, there had been ill feelings among a group of men, including Holt, Wilson and Mure, for a long time.

The argument moved into the street around 3:30 a.m.

Mure shot and wounded Wilson in the knee with a .25 caliber revolver, and another bullet grazed Wilson’s ankle.

Holt was somehow hit in the stomach by a .38 caliber revolver slug, and transported to Broadlawns Hospital in Des Moines, where he died Jan. 17.

The Mason City Globe-Gazette quoted Police Detective James Thompson as saying Holt was shot in the stomach when Mure and Wilson fired at each other.

According to a Feb. 8, 1966 article published in the Des Moines Register, Mure was charged with assault and intent to commit murder in Wilson’s shooting, but Polk County Municipal Judge Luther T. Glanton, Jr. dismissed charges against Mure after a Jan. 21 hearing. Glanton recommended that the county attorney wait for disposition of the murder case against Wilson and then present facts in the Mure case to the Polk County Grand Jury.

Wilson was charged with going armed with intent, and then murder after Holt died.

On Monday, Feb. 7, 1966, Wilson was bound over to the Grand Jury on the murder charge. Glanton also presided over that case, and, based on testimony from character witnesses, ordered Wilson be released on his own recognizance pending any Grand Jury indictment.

Assistant Polk County Attorney Frank Comito objected, stating Wilson might flee to avoid prosecution. His objection was overruled and Wilson was released.

As of Dec. 13, 2009, no one had ever been convicted in Holt’s death.

When the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) established a Cold Case Unit in 2009, Harold Holt’s murder was one of approximately 150 cases listed on the Cold Case Unit’s new website as those the DCI hoped to solve using latest advancements in DNA technology.

Although federal grant funding for the DCI Cold Case Unit was exhausted in December 2011, the DCI continues to assign agents to investigate cold cases as new leads develop or as technological advances allow for additional forensic testing of original evidence.

The DCI remains committed to resolving Iowa’s cold cases and will continue to work diligently with local law enforcement partners to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice for the victims and their families.

Harold Holt gravestoneCourtesy photo Katie Lou, findagrave.com
Harold Holt is buried at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines.
About Harold Holt

Harold Ronald Holt was born December 21, 1941, and served as a PFC with the 42nd Medical Ambulance Company during his military service.

He died January 17, 1966, of complications from a January 1, 1966 gunshot wound.

Harold Holt was laid to rest in Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa.

Information Needed

If you have any information regarding Harold Holt’s unsolved murder, please contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation at (515) 725-6010 or email dciinfo@dps.state.ia.us.



4 Responses to Harold Holt

  1. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    I guess Judge Glanton we, missed the fact that Mr. Holt is dead at the hands of both individuals, that he released. Did, Judge Glanton, think that Mr. Holt, shot himself, or that the bullet came from ourtspace.

    Also, there was bad blood, between the three of them, Mr. Holt did pull not pull a weapon of any kind. So, I hope that Judge Glanton, took the time to explain to Mr. Holt’s family, why he let two guys get away with causing his death.

    I like that a witness claimed that Wilson had a good record in the community. I guess because of his dispute with Mr. Mure, another person iui s dead. I hope he or Mr. Mure went on to lead a good life and another family lost a loved one.

    • Amos Holt says:

      Certainly the Judge failed this case miserably! He definitely didn’t shoot himself and they both fired shots so….. The system failed Harold! RIP Big Bro!

  2. Jody Ewing says:

    Thanks so much, Andrea!

  3. andrea says:

    The Des Moines Register February 8, 1966 says:


    “Douglas McArthur Wilson, 21, of 1549 Eighteenth St., was bound over to the Polk County Grand Jury on a charge of murder Monday after a hearing before Municipal Judge Luther T. Glanton, Jr. After taking testimony from character witnesses for Wilson, Judge Glanton ordered that the youth be released on his own bond pending action by the Grand Jury.

    “Assistant Polk County Attorey Frank Comito objected to having Wilson released on his own bond. Comito said the nature of the charge is so serious that contemplation of a Grand Jury indictment might cause the accused to flee and avoid prosecution.

    “Judge Glanton told Wilson he is the first person he has ever released on his own recognizance on a murder charge. The witnesses for Wilson said he had a good record in the community and had never been in trouble before. He is accused in the shooting of Harold Holt, 25, of 1040 Sixteenth St., in a gun fight in front of 1138 Tenth St. early New Year’s Day. Wilson was shot in the knee and the leg in the dispute.

    “Holt, who suffered wounds in the liver, diaphragm and lung died Jan. 17. Dr. Leo Luka, Polk County medical examiner, testified that Holt died of complications from “perforatory wound” in a lung.

    “Another man, Herman Mure 21, of 815 Crocker St., was charged with assault with intent to murder in connection with the same incident, but Judge Glanton dismissed that charge after a hearing Jan. 21.

    “Judge Glanton recommended that the county attorney wait for disposition of the murder case against Wilson and then present facts in the Mure case to the Polk County Grand Jury.”

    I can’t seem to find an article about Wilson’s charges, but will keep looking.

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