Homicide suspect now faces drug trafficking charges

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]
Holtslander -

WILKES-BARRE — A man facing a homicide trial later this year in the slaying of a homeless man was arraigned Thursday on new drug charges.

State police at Wyoming allege they found heroin, crack cocaine, psychedelic mushrooms, marijuana cigars and packaging materials inside a North Hancock Street residence where Daniel Elias Holtslander was arrested July 7, 2016.

Holtslander was charged in the fatal stabbing of 49-year-old Kurt Swan, whose body was found in a wooded area behind the Mark II Shopping Plaza on June 25, 2016.

The drugs and paraphernalia were discovered during a search of the house that was connected to the homicide, according to court papers.

Holtslander’s trial on an open count of criminal homicide is set for Oct. 22.

Holtslander claimed he was sleeping in his truck when Swan climbed inside, according to a previous Times Leader story. Holtslander said he “lashed out” and stabbed Swan with a pair of knives, not knowing it was Swan, the report stated.

Holtslander claimed he was friends with Swan.

Defense attorney John Pike is trying to prevent Holtslander’s alleged confession from being used during the trial.

Holtslander has been jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility without bail on the homicide charge.

District Judge Thomas Malloy in Wilkes-Barre arraigned Holtslander on six counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, three counts each of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance, and a single count of possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Malloy set bail on the drug charges at $50,000.


By Ed Lewis

[email protected]