Houston – Wanda Holloway was the very model of a modern, middle-class mom. That is, until she became the focus of international attention following her arrest on charges of trying to hire a hitman to kill the mother of her daughter’s cheerleading rival.
The entire ordeal came to light in January of 1991. Former KPRC 2 veteran journalist Ron Regan received a tip that Holloway was charged with solicitation of capital murder.
“This was probably the most unbelievable set of circumstances you could ever imagine,” Regan tells us during the newest episode of our original KPRC 2 Investigates docuseries, ‘The Evidence Room.’
Regan recalls heading to the Channelview neighborhood where Holloway lived, after receiving the tip. He went there hoping to speak with her after she was released from jail.
“I mean neighbors who knew her; ‘this is, this is preposterous,’” Regan recalls. “I just can’t believe this would happen.”
Over the next several months details emerged about Holloway’s charges. Those details revealed why Holloway was trying to hire a hitman to kill Verna Heath, or her daughter Amber - or both. Amber Heath was competing against Holloway’s daughter Shanna for a spot on the cheerleading squad. Amber made it, but Shanna didn’t.
“(Wanda) doted over Shanna, Shanna was her whole world,” said Regan. “Some people speculated she was living her life, or the life she wish she had growing up, through her daughter.”
In this newest episode of ‘The Evidence Room,’ Regan explains that Wanda Holloway was a woman who got what she wanted and became incensed when the ‘ruler incident’ actually led to her daughter’s disqualification from competition. Holloway tried to spin up support for her daughter by passing out rulers with the words, “Vote for Shanna Harper for Cheerleader” printed on each ruler.
That campaign violated school-election rules and led to Shanna Harper’s disqualification.
“That’s a case-in-point of inserting herself into her daughter’s life,” Regan said.
Central to the prosecution’s case against Wanda Holloway were undercover recordings that are stored in the Harris County archive of trial court exhibits, which KPRC 2 Investigates gained exclusive access to for ‘The Evidence Room.’ Court documents there show Wanda Holloway turned to her former brother-in-law Terry Harper for help in finding a hitman. When Terry Harper realized Wanda was serious, he immediately contacted the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
At first, the detectives didn’t believe him but later had Harper secretly record his conversations with Holloway.
“Well I thought you might have uh, decided to change your mind,” Harper is heard saying to Wanda on one of the recordings.
“Oh, no, no, no,” Wanda answered.
“You’re still a go?” Harper asks.
“Oh, yeah,” Wanda replied.
You’ll hear details from those recorded conversations, included price and exactly what Holloway wanted to have happen, in ‘The Evidence Room.’
Holloway maintained her innocence, but a jury found her guilty. That verdict was overturned when it was determined a juror should have been disqualified from serving on the jury panel.
Holloway eventually pleaded ‘no contest’ and received a sentence of 10 years in prison. However, after serving only six months of that sentence, a judge granted Holloway what’s known as ‘shock probation’ and 1,000 hours of community service. Court records show her probation ended in 2001.
A made for HBO movie titled “The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom” was released in 1993 starring Holy Hunter and Beau Bridges. Dialogue for a pivotal scene between Hunter and Bridges used the undercover recordings you’ll hear in this episode of ‘The Evidence Room’ verbatim. Regan even had a cameo in the movie, playing himself.
A tag line for the movie was even taken directly from the undercover recordings. Wanda is recorded telling Terry Harper, “the things you do for your kids.”
Get caught up on Season 2 of ‘The Evidence Room’ here.
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