Trial again delayed in homeless man’s 2016 homicide

By Patrick Kernan - [email protected]
Holtslander -

WILKES-BARRE — Trial has again been delayed for the suspect accused of killing a homeless man.

Daniel Elias Holtslander, 40, Wilkes-Barre, is facing an open count of criminal homicide. His trial date was pushed back from October to March 2019.

Holtslander allegedly stabbed Kurt Swan multiple times behind the Edwardsville Kmart on June 25, 2016.

He appeared before Luzerne County Judge Fred A. Pierantoni III for a motions hearing Friday. Both prosecutors and Holtslander’s defense attorney said they needed additional time to prepare for the trial, which had been set for Oct. 22.

Holtslander’s attorney, public defender John Pike, said Holtslander just this week underwent a psychological evaluation. Meanwhile, Assistant District Attorney Jarrett Ferentino explained the lengthy process involved in electronically mapping the defendant’s vehicle.

The details of both of these developments would require more time to prepare for trial, attorneys said. They jointly asked Pierantoni to allow for the trial to be moved to March 11, 2019, which Pierantoni agreed to.

It’s the second time Holtslander’s case has been pushed back. He was initially set to stand trial April 16. But in March, it was delayed to October because the electronic mapping had not yet been completed. Both sides are calling the mapping a key piece of evidence.

According to police, Holtslander told them he stabbed Swan after Swan approached him while Holtslander was sleeping in his truck behind Kmart.

Holtslander said he then “lashed out,” stabbing Swan with a pair of knives before realizing who it was. He then told them he wrapped the body in a tarp and dumped it over an embankment behind the store. He later allegedly tried to burn the tarp and other pieces of evidence.

He is also facing drug trafficking charges. Police claim they found heroin, crack cocaine, psychedelic mushrooms, marijuana cigars and packing materials inside the residence where he was arrested in July 2016.

Court records show Holtslander has a preliminary hearing on the drug charges Sept. 27.

He remains locked up at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.


By Patrick Kernan

[email protected]

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

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