A Spokane-area man who allegedly drove to the Tri-Cities to have sex with a 13-year-old girl is considering a guilty plea that would involve both federal and state cases.
Jonathan P. Holden, 44, was scheduled to argue for his release from custody at a Thursday hearing in U.S. District Court in Richland.
Instead, attorney Andrea George told the judge they have worked out the basics of a plea but need more time on the details for the “global resolution with several jurisdictions.”
Holden is being held as a contract inmate at the Benton County jail.
While Holden may plead guilty in early October, Judge Sal Mendoza Jr. said they will keep his Oct. 29 trial date just in case that changes.
Holden was indicted in June by a federal grand jury on six counts: attempted enticement of a minor; attempted production of child pornography; receipt and possession of child porn and two counts of producing child porn.
He has a Benton County Superior Court case for attempted second-degree child rape that stems from his Feb. 6 arrest in Richland.
The resolution also may include new allegations that surfaced in Spokane during the investigation. He is not yet charged with those crimes.
Holden, who lives in Mead, first drew the attention of the Southeast Regional Internet Crimes Against Children task force when he posted a Craigslist ad seeking a sexual encounter.
The ad said “age, size, race, looks, marital status” did not matter.
An undercover detective responded as a 13-year-old girl, prompting Holden to go into graphic detail about what he would do with the girl once together, according to federal court documents and prosecutors.
Holden, a longtime Spokane chef, traveled to Richland to meet the girl. He was met by task force members.
In a later search of his electronic devices and online data storage, investigators found Holden had “used Craigslist to engage in sexual conversations” with children and adults around the country, prosecutors said.
He allegedly enticed a couple teen girls to send homemade videos in suggestive positions, but a third girl ended her chats with Holden after getting the request for nude pictures.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Herzog previously told the court that Holden “engaged in some of the most explicit rape fantasy language that the government has seen.”
George, the defense attorney, wrote in a court document that much of Holden’s “charged conduct was aided by his access to and use of the internet.”
She was asking to have his detention order reversed before announcing in court that instead they were working on a plea deal.
Federal prosecutors have noted how Holden did internet searches to determine if he was being targeted by police, entering terms like “sex stings richland wa” and “net nanny sting richland.” He also checked the cellphone number of the alleged Richland teen girl to see if it was connected with police.
“The United States submits that these searches demonstrate just how strong and undeterrable (Holden’s) sexual interest in children is: he went to meet a purported 13-year-old at Arby’s, and then the boat dock, despite his own strong suspicions that he was going to be caught,” Herzog wrote in a document.
“... Even when he suspected (rightly) that he was being investigated for engaging with a minor online, he could not help himself. He still had to try to meet the child for oral sex.”