New Charges Filed in 1983 Cold Case Murder Against Suspect Serving Life Sentence

Using what prosecutors say were breakthroughs in DNA forensics, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has charged a San Jose man convicted in 2015 of the brutal murder of a Palo Alto teen in 1983 with another murder that occurred four months earlier.

Based on a new DNA analysis, Christopher Holland, 67, was arraigned last week and charged with the April 1983 rape and murder of 21-year-old Tara Marowski of San Jose, prosecutors said in a press release today.

This is the second time Holland has been charged with Marowki’s murder. Santa Clara prosecutors were forced to drop the case in 2015 when a judge legally separated it from the slaying of Cynthia Munoz.

The murder of 17-year-old Cynthia Munoz, who was found raped, strangled and stabbed in her disabled boyfriend’s Campbell home in August 1983. Holland was charged in 2007 after investigators linked him to a sperm sample taken from Munoz’s body, according to prosecutors.

Holland was also charged with the rape and murder of Marowski, whose body was found in the back of her Plymouth Duster in April 1983.

Holland was found guilty of that murder and is serving life without the possibility of parole. If convicted in this new case, Holland faces another life sentence. Holland is scheduled to appear in court next month.

“With this prosecution comes a message that you will hear often from me and this office as we scour old cases for new evidence: we do not forget violent crimes and we do not forget victims,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “We never gave up on Tara Marowski.”

In late March 1983, Marowski was seen leaving a San Jose bar with Holland. Five days later, on April 2, 1983,  Marowski’s partially clothed body was found in the back seat of her car, parked on a residential street in San Jose. A possible cause of death was strangulation, according to prosecutors..

In 2007, Holland was charged with another rape and murder, of Munoz, which occurred in Campbell on August 7, 1983. In 2011, while that case was pending, he was charged with the murder of Marowski.

The two cases were consolidated. In 2015, the trial judge severed the cases. Holland was convicted in March 2015 ot the murder of Munoz. The murder of Marowski then proceeded to trial, where the judge excluded all evidence of the Munoz case. In May 2015, the Marowski case was dismissed.

Additional forensic analysis was done in 2021 based upon a new method of “probabilistic genotyping,” according to prosecutors. The new report concluded Holland’s DNA was on the victim.

In addition to Marowski and Munoz, four women known to Holland have testified that he either sexually assaulted them, or strangled them or both, throughout the 1980s and 1990s. These cases were uncharged but were used as evidence in the Munoz trial, Rosen said.


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