Trial date set for man who allegedly stabbed homeless man to death

By Patrick Kernan - [email protected] | October 12th, 2017 8:16 pm

WILKES-BARRE — A trial date has been set for a Wilkes-Barre resident accused of killing a homeless man last year.

Daniel Elias Holtslander, 38, is accused of fatally stabbing 49-year-old Kurt Swan.

Swan’s body was found June 25, 2016, behind the Kmart at Mark Plaza in Edwardsville.

Holtslander previously had a trial date set for last spring in front of Luzerne County Judge Lesa S. Gelb, but that date came and went without a trial.

Holtslander’s case has since been reassigned to Luzerne County Judge Fred A. Pierantoni. This week, he scheduled the homicide trial for April 16, 2018.

Holtslander was charged with Swan’s death several weeks after the body was found. Police say Holtslander described sleeping in his truck when Swan climbed inside and approached him.

Holtslander, who said Swan was a “friend,” told police he “lashed out,” stabbing Swan with a pair of knives, not knowing it was him who entered the truck, according to an affidavit.

Holtslander said he then dumped Swan’s body over an embankment before going home to clean his knives, court records show.

Holtslander’s attorney, John Pike, filed a series of pretrial motions in November of last year, most trying to suppress evidence.

Pike claimed Holtslander’s alleged confessions “were not voluntary, nor were they the product of his rational intellect or free will.” He argued Holtslander’s rights were violated because he made the confession before being read his Miranda rights.

Pike’s motion was denied by Judge Gelb in February, according to court records.

Holtslander remains held in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility without bail, as is customary for homicide suspects.


By Patrick Kernan

[email protected]

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan