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District Attorney

Posted on: April 27, 2023

District Attorney Hoovler requests Special Prosecutor in Edward Holley Case

Orange County News
For Immediate Release                                                                Contact: Ryan Greenbaum 
 Wednesday, April 26, 2023                                                     845.615.3657, 845.415.0868c


District Attorney Hoovler requests Special Prosecutor in  

Edward Holley Case



Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that he requested that a Special Prosecutor be appointed in the case of People v. Edward Holley, which is pending in the Town of Wallkill Justice Court. Holley is charged with Murder in the Second Degree in connection with the bludgeoning death of Megan McDonald in the Town of Wallkill in March 2003.  The basis of the application is that while in private practice prior to becoming District Attorney, Mr. Hoovler represented a client in negotiations with the District Attorney’s office regarding potential information that client might provide regarding Ms. McDonald’s death. That client passed away prior to District Attorney Hoovler taking office.    

Although the District Attorney’s Office had been consulting with the New York State Police on issues during the investigation, the District Attorney’s Office was neither alerted to defendant’s imminent arrest, nor given an opportunity to review the seventeen-page felony complaint in advance of it being filed with the court. Based on the theory of the case as set forth in the felony complaint, coupled with the facts concerning District Attorney Hoovler’s prior legal representation, there would be a substantial appearance of a conflict of interest if the prosecution of this case remained with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Accordingly, it is in the best interest of all parties, as well as the appearance of fairness in the administration of justice, that this matter be handled by a Special Prosecutor.  

Julia D. Cornachio, Esq., an attorney who has over thirty years’ experience as a prosecutor and who has handled numerous homicide cases in both the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office and Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, has been appointed Special District Attorney by the Honorable James A. McCarty, Supervising Judge of the Felony Criminal Parts of the Ninth Judicial District. Ms. Cornachio will lead the prosecution of the case.  Ms. Cornachio will be assisted by Laura Murphy, Esq, another experienced former prosecutor who has handled numerous homicide cases and was the Chief of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office Cold Case Bureau.    

Edward V. Holley was released from custody by operation of law as it is not feasible for any prosecutor to present a matter of this size and complexity, and obtain an indictment, within the six days required by New York State Law.  

To avoid any prejudice in the matter, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office will be referring future media inquiries concerning the case to the Special District Attorney. 

This criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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