By summertime 2004, 15-year-old Holly Harvey had unquestionably lived a difficult life.
Abused from birth by a multiply addicted single mom who had recently gone to jail, Holly relocated that April to live with her grandparents, Carl Collier, 73, a retired airline supervisor, and Sarah Collier, 74, a retired bank teller.
Once there, Holly apparently just felt worse, prompting her to compose a poem that contained the disturbingly prescient line, “All I want to do is kill.”
Only two sources seemed to supply the troubled teen with relief: intoxicants such as alcohol and marijuana; and her 16-year-old friend turned lover, Sandra Ketchum. Suffice to say, the elderly, church-going Colliers approved of neither such interests for their granddaughter.
Holly and Sandra had, in fact, first hooked up when they were both 13. Thus, more than two years later, their relationship was quite serious for their ages, and, relatively speaking, long-term. The couple had even run away together for four days in June 2003.
What also became serious, however, was the girls’ escalation into harder drug use by way of cocaine, speed, and crystal meth.
During her stay with her grandparents, Holly’s attitude became steadily more combative, and she began threatening to commit violence. On July 27, 2004, Carl Collier told his son Kevin, Holly’s uncle, that the teen had been explicitly stating she was going to kill both him and Sarah.
Five days later, Holly Harvey and Sandra Ketchum did just that.
All I Want to Do Is Kill by Dale Hudson (cover). One of two popular true-crime books about Holly Harvey and Sandra Ketchum [Amazon]
After staying out all night, the girl’s returned to Holly’s basement bedroom to listen to music and smoke marijuana laced with cocaine.
While talking about scoring more drugs to “calm us down,” Sandra suggested they take the Colliers’ truck. Holly later told a judge she replied, “We’ll have to kill them to do that. But I didn’t mean nothing by that.”
Sandra at first suggested they hit the Colliers with a lamp. Instead, Holly retrieved “the biggest knife I could find” from the kitchen. The girls practiced stabbing a mattress to test the weapon’s sharpness.
Once Sarah Collier came downstairs to fetch a suitcase, Holly attacked her, stabbing her more than 20 times while Sandra reportedly cowered in a corner.
Carl rushed to his wife’s defense. Holly stabbed him in the chest, then chased her wounded grandfather upstairs, pulling a phone of the wall to prevent him from calling for help.
Momentarily, Carl got the knife away from his granddaughter, but Holly recovered it. She cried out for Sandy to join her and then, together, both girls continued stabbing Carl Collier more than a dozen times until he was dead.
Holly later said that the blood splashing on her throughout the murders felt like “a bucket of hot water.”
After the murders, the girls took the keys to the truck that had started their entire diabolical discussion. They then pocketed the Colliers’ cash and whatever jewelry they could find, drove to a friend’s house, cleaned up, and headed for the Georgia coast, hoping to spend some time on the beach.
When investigators showed up at the crime scene, they found a “to-do” list in Holly’s handwriting that laid out the plan. It read: “Kill-Keys-Money-Jewelry.”
In the meantime, the teenage perpetrators apparently had not seriously considered how to elude capture. Police tracked the pair for hours via cell phone, as they excitedly called friends to brag about how they’d broken free from the Colliers.
Authorities arrested Holly and Sandra the next day on Tybee Island. They were hanging out with a pair of brothers they’d just met, asking about where they could exchange jewelry for cash.
When asked why she killed her grandparents, Holly Harvey said, “For Sandy, so that we could be together.”
Although initially described as cocky and cold-hearted upon being taken into custody, both Holly and Sandra subsequently expressed remorse.
Each girl eventually pleaded guilty to multiple charges of murder and armed robbery. Sandra maintained that killing the Colliers had been her idea all along.
During the investigation, though, other witnesses came forth to state that Holly had long been planning to murder her grandparents, and even attempted to acquire a gun to do so.
Holly Harvey received two life sentences and will not be eligible for parole until she serves a minimum of 20 years. Sandra Ketchum received three life sentences to be served consecutively.
When the sentencing judge asked Holly if 20 years seemed like a “good deal,” the teenager bluntly responded, “I think I should be dead.”