The man charged with the brutal murder of a San Francisco publicist was anyone he wanted to be.
While serving time in Corcoran prison, Scott Holland was a mentor to drug addicts in a program affiliated with the San Francisco-based Walden House. When receiving spiritual advice at a cozy San Francisco mysticism shop, he was a ladies man. To a roommate at his Hayes Street halfway home, he was a biker and Satanist.
On Oct. 29, police say Holland was a utility worker.
Knocking on the door of Kate Horan’s Russian Hill apartment, he convinced her he was checking for gas leaks, according to police. Horan was later found brutally murdered. Holland is now facing charges of murder, attempted rape and robbery.
In a rare interview with The San Francisco Examiner, Holland’s father, Gary, said his son is “a charmer and a con.”
“He conned us. He conned his whole family,” Gary Holland said.
Scott Holland had been paroled from prison in April after serving 11 of his 13-year sentence for attempted murder in Fresno. He was convicted of slitting the throat of his mother’s aunt. Scott Holland claimed he was blacked out on drugs.
He was sent to Walden House in San Francisco after initially being assigned to Sacramento. Corrections officials said the Walden House in Sacramento was full, but Gary Holland is convinced his son conned his way into San Francisco, where he had spent some time when he was younger.
“He knew everyone at Walden House,” the elder Holland said. “He must have used his contacts to be transferred to San Francisco.”
While there, Scott Holland often left to receive “spiritual advice” and perform odd jobs at the Sword and Rose, a small store tucked away in a cozy Cole Valley neighborhood, according to co-owner Patrick Ferry, who described the shop as a center for “white magic.”
Scott Holland would often talk of his girlfriend and he “had women hanging on him” when he visited. He stopped going regularly to the shop after he found a room in North Beach on Aug. 20.
“He wanted spiritual advice,” Ferry said. “More than anything else, we were saying, ‘It’s OK, whatever happened, happened,’ and, ‘Just move forward.’”
Perhaps to impress others at Walden House, Scott Holland was a different person. He made those rituals seem dark and satanic. One man who contacted The San Francisco Examiner — but as an ex-convict did not want his name used — said Scott Holland slept with Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible.
For his parents, the person their son is now does not matter much anymore.
“He’s disappointed us so much, we don’t want anything to do with him,” Gary Holland said. “Our condolences for the family. It makes me sick. It makes me sick for her family and her.”
Correction: This article was corrected on Nov. 23, 2010. In the original article the author of the Satanic Bible was incorrectly named. His name is Anton LaVey.