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Court documents: Missoula surgeon says Holm could travel for hearing

By Emily Adamson, KECI Reporter, eadamson@keci.com
Published On: Apr 09 2013 04:17:39 PM MDT
Updated On: Apr 05 2013 05:55:46 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

In a motion filed with the Missoula County District Court the Missoula County Attorney told the judge he strongly opposes a motion to continue a prison sentence for a Lolo man convicted in 2011 of driving drunk and killing a pedestrian.

Earlier this week Brian Holm asked for 12 weeks to recover out of state from heart surgery.

Missoula County District Court Judge Dusty Deschamps wanted to know who's paying for Holm's medical expenses before he makes a decision on whether to postpone the hearing to execute Holm’s 15 year prison sentence.

Holm’s attorney Richard Buley filed a motion with the court explaining that Minnesota Medicare paid for the surgery and will pay for the 12-week cardiac rehab.

But County Attorney Fred VanValkenburg said it doesn't matter who’s footing the bill. He said there's no reason for Holm to be free.

In the State’s response to the motion to continue the hearing VanValkenburg fired back against a recommendation from Holm's Minnesota doctor that he not travel.

VanValkenburg found his own doctor. He consulted with Missoula cardiovascular surgeon Matt Maxwell who wrote in a letter to VanValkenburg that Holm should be able travel and can go to prison.

“He's had a long time to deal with his medical issues in fact he's nearly six weeks now beyond the time of his surgery so I think it’s time for him to do his time,” VanValkenburg said in an interview earlier this week.

In the letter Maxwell said patients who have the same surgery Holm did can travel by plane or car within a week or two of the surgery.

Maxwell goes on to explain that the cardiac rehab Holm's doctor recommends could likely be done in Missoula. He also said he's done similar surgeries on prison inmates and they've returned to prison within a week.

“This is a case that's gone on way too long and Mr. Holm needs to pay the penalty at this point,” said VanValkenburg.

In the end Judge Deschamps will decide whether Holm will have to come back and rehab in Missoula, 18 months after being sentenced for running over and killing a man.

Deschamps isn't expected to make a ruling on whether to continue the case until next week.

Also in the court file a request to the Sentence Review Division of the Supreme Court of Montana. A judicial assistant said the request to review the sentence was filed quite a while ago, but is just now being sent to the review board.

The board meets four times a year to review sentences and the judges don’t have to stick with the original sentence. They can choose to increase or decrease the sentence.

NBC Montana will keep you updated on the proceedings