Former Berrien County probation officer sentenced

NOW: Former Berrien County probation officer sentenced


Jessica Holmes was sentenced Monday for providing drugs to a probationer she had a relationship with, but she won’t serve jail time because of what happened beforehand.

“I’ve never seen anybody more loved and more cared for and more concern expressed for than Jessica Holmes,” said James Jesse, Holmes’ attorney.

Holmes pleaded guilty to two felonies, but it was not lost in the courtroom Monday what she had experienced before the crimes were committed.

“I don’t disagree that the events on July 11 [2016] severely impacted her life,” said the prosecutor.

“When you have a gun pointed at your head and you found two people who are very dear to you – both have been killed – and having gone through all stuff that she went through, she’s come a long ways recovering from that, but the first two or three months were really traumatic for her,” said Jesse.

Holmes lost two coworkers and friends – bailiffs Ron Kienzle and Joe Zangaro – in the Berrien County Courthouse shooting.

Shortly after the July shooting, Holmes – a probation program coordinator – developed a sexual relationship with one of her probationers.

She ended up delivering the probationer a drug and provided him confidential scheduling information so he would avoid failing future drug tests.

Though the judge acknowledged Holmes should’ve known better – especially because of her profession – he said he ultimately agreed that pleading guilty to felonies and losing her job and benefits – on top of experiencing last summer’s shooting – was enough to avoid time behind bars.

Holmes will serve 120 days in the Michigan Department of Corrections’ tethered program, as well as 18 months of probation.

She’ll also pay more than $1,000 in fines and costs.

“Miss Holmes, I trust that you have learned an important lesson by this,” said the judge. 

Holmes' attorney said multiple courthouse employees, who are friends of Holmes, wrote letters to the judge vouching for her. 

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