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Russian Hill Socialite Murder Suspect Appears In Court

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Kathleen Horan, murder suspect sketch (SF Police Dept.)

Kathleen Horan, murder suspect sketch (SF Police Dept.)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / BCN) — A San Francisco man suspected of posing as a utility worker to gain entrance to a Russian Hill socialite’s apartment and then beating and stabbing her to death last month appeared in court Tuesday morning on murder charges.

Gary Scott Holland, 43, was arrested Friday in connection with the killing of 46-year-old publicist Kathleen Horan on Oct. 29.

Police found Horan’s body inside her second-floor apartment at 900 Chestnut Street early on the morning of Oct. 30. Investigators believe she was killed about 7 p.m. the previous evening.

Holland, who is charged with murder, attempted rape, robbery and burglary, did not enter a plea during Tuesday’s brief hearing in San Francisco Superior Court.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

Arraignment was postponed until Friday as Holland awaits the appointment of an attorney from the public defender’s office.

According to prosecutors, Horan was beaten with a pry bar, a construction tool similar to a small crowbar, and stabbed with a knife.

Police said Holland, who was dressed as a utility worker, with a hard hat, utility vest, belt and tool box, somehow gained access to the apartment building and knocked on Horan’s door, telling her he needed to check for a gas leak.

Police detained Holland Friday in the Outer Richmond neighborhood, when officers found him lying in some bushes at Sutro Heights Park.

Homicide inspectors later arrested him.

Holland is charged with one count of murder with the use of a deadly weapon, one count of attempted rape, one count of residential robbery and two counts of residential burglary.

Attached to the murder charge are special-circumstance allegations that would make Holland eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

At a news conference announcing the charges on Monday, District Attorney Kamala Harris called Holland “a true predator.”

According to prosecutor Braden Woods, both DNA evidence found at the scene of the murder, and Holland’s alleged statements to police, will play a role in the prosecution.

“He made admissions in the case,” Woods said Tuesday, without elaborating.

Holland is believed to have suffered an injury to his left hand, possibly from his own knife, as Horan was trying to defend herself, according to Woods.

Police said that at the time of the killing, Holland had been on parole after serving a prison sentence for attempted murder in Fresno County.

Holland remained in custody without bail.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

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