Out for justice

Deborah Ray Holst, right, has attended each day of testimony.

After the death of her mother at the hands of accused courthouse shooter Bartholomew Granger, Deborah Ray Holst said what she’ll miss most about her mother, Minnie Ray Sebolt, was cooking some of the finest holiday meals in all of Southeast Texas.

“This past November, I had to do it alone,” she said in an exclusive interview with The Examiner. “I had never done it by myself. Me and her always did it together.”

Granger is accused of opening fire on the Jefferson County Courthouse on March 14, 2012, after his daughter and ex-wives testified against him in a sexual assault trial. Sebolt was cut down at the courthouse doors, an innocent bystander who was helping her friend, Vickie Hollingsworth, get VA benefits after the death of Hollingsworth’s husband.

“She just loved to help people,” Hollingsworth said in Tuesday’s testimony in Galveston.

Holst said her childhood in Deweyville, Texas, was one of ranch-style living and self-sufficiency, no matter the odds.

“They always had some type of business,” she said. “We raised horses, chickens and cattle. I wore cowboy boots up until I was 16 years old. That was the first time I wore a dress.”

When money was tight — and even when it wasn’t — Holst said her mother was always up to something.

“She drove a dump truck and a school bus for a while,” she said.

Holst said her mother was a pillar of her Deweyville community, helping neighbors with their income taxes, business deals and running a notary-public right from her Deweyville home.

“She was extremely resourceful,” Holst said. “She didn’t think there was anything thing she couldn’t do.”

Her business savvy mother was also a thrill seeker, Holst said.

“She was 79 going on 30,” she said. “She bungee jumped in November. In June, my son was paying for us to go to Colorado to go white water rafting.”

With her mother now gone at the hands of a murderous gunman, Holst said forgiveness might be hard to come by.

“I know the Lord says we’re supposed to, but as of this moment, I can’t do that,” she said. “I can’t because I see my mother as so vibrant, but just like a light switch, she was turned off. I mean, she could’ve lived another 20 or 30 more years. She was actually older than both of her parents when they passed away. What he took cannot be replaced.”

Granger pleaded not guilty to the capital murder charge stemming from Sebolt’s death. The trial is expected to continue into next week, and jurors could begin deliberations as soon as Monday, April 29.

After watching Granger the past three days in Galveston, Holst is unrelenting in her pleas for justice. If convicted, Holst said she will demand the death penalty from prosecutors.

“He has no remorse,” Holst said. “If he is convicted, and they give him the death penalty, I’ll be there with my mother’s picture, and her face and my face would be the last thing he ever saw.”

For more on the trial, click here: http://theexaminer.com/stories/news/day-three-testimony-granger-trial