AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — More than two decades after the brutal murder of A.B. Tower, Sr., one of his sons is still haunted by the crime and wants his father’s killer to finally be executed.
On November 13, 1996, 80-year-old A.B. Towery, Sr. was brutally murdered in his southwest Amarillo apartment.
Randall County District Attorney Robert Love said the prosecution believed it was a chance encounter that Brittany Holberg came into contact with Towery Sr.
“From the evidence, what we believe occurred is that somewhere away from the apartment complex that Mr. Towery lived at, the defendant got a cab to take her to the apartment complex, and she tried to skip paying the fare,” said Love. “When she went into the apartment complex, We believe the evidence showed that just a chance encounter with Mr. Towery and whatever she told him about her needs or what was going on, we’ll never know because Mr. Towery is not here to say.”
Love said Towery was seen walking into his apartment with Holberg. Once inside Towery’s apartment, his son Russell Towery said Holberg tried to take his prescription drugs and his father fought back.
“There were at least 70 or more blows either blunt force trauma, or sharp, sharp force injuries on Mr. Towery,” said Love. “It was so egregious. It was so over the top.”
“They said that the fight lasted probably 45 minutes. She beat my dad with knives, forks, spoons, skillets, chipped the back of his head off with a claw hammer,” said Russell. “And my dad is laying in the kitchen floor bleeding, you know, drowning in his own blood. She ran a rod, lamp base down his throat six inches…”
“I remember that the reason that she said she used the lamp was because she wanted to get him to quit making noises because he was still moaning and groaning and she did it to shut him up,” said Dave Blount, Randall County Assistant DA. “And she took a bath, changed into some of his clothes, and left.”
Love said Holberg got a ride away from the apartment complex from a couple who were nearby, and she gave them money that was covered, that they believe she had taken from Towery in his apartment.
During the trial, Holberg claimed her actions were in self defense, saying “I didn’t wanna hurt anybody,” on the stand.
But Blount believed her past did not play well with the jury.
“From scamming friends to get their prescription medications, to being a prostitute, to being a drug addict, she had other convictions for felonies, she had been to drug rehab as part of the prison system. She had a history of lying,” said Blount. “I don’t think her testimony helped her much and the brutality of it was over the top.”
When asked what stands out to him looking back on the case, Blount said, “The defenses that were raised, that continue to echo today from her, being that he somehow hired her as a prostitute or something of that nature. There was no evidence of that presented at the trial, except through other prostitutes that the defense had found to come forward and say these things and they were not necessarily very credible witnesses to begin with.”
Russell Towery said during the trial, he planned to kill Holberg himself.
“I was going to shoot her in the courtroom,” he said.
But he said Gil Farren, Former DA James Farren’s wife who was the victims’ assistance coordinator for the county, saw what was going on and intervened.
“If I was to have taken a shot at her, and missed and shot the bailiff, I wouldn’t have been any better than her,” said Russell. “But I regret not shooting Brittany in the courtroom. I wanted to put Satan’s daughter to sleep.”
It has been nearly 25 years since Holberg was convicted and sentenced to death, but Russell’s feelings toward her remain the same.
On the day of her sentencing in 1998, he said, “I’m just waiting to see her quit breathing. She stood and watched my dad quit breathing. I want to stand and watch her quit breathing.”
Then, in 2023 he said, “I want her kicking and screaming on the way to to the death gurney. I want her to think about what she did to my dad.”
The prosecution has stayed in touch with the Towery family, including Russell.
“I don’t know if he will ever get any peace,” said Blount. “But there’s nothing I could say to Russell to to help him resolve what’s going what’s in his mind.”
Blount and Love said the case has changed whether they decide to pursue the death penalty in certain cases.
“The impact it has on victims is so extreme that sometimes you’ve got to take that into account,” said Love.
Russell said, “I will forgive Brittany the moment that she quits breathing and that’s gonna be it. Everybody talks about closure. How do you get closure when the demon who killed your father is still getting three meals a day and a place to sleep? That’s not closure to me.”
Holberg remains on death row, and is still appealing her death sentence. We requested an interview with her through the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She declined.