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Kingman man explains why he killed lifelong buddy in letter to judge

KINGMAN, Ariz. — A local man headed to prison for killing his best friend and burying him under concrete says in a letter to the judge that he believes the man was trying to help him fulfill his wish to die when he stabbed him to death.

Richard Polaski, who pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder for the 2015 stabbing death of John Holland, 65, faces a 10- to 18-year prison term when sentenced Nov. 21 by Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen.

In a handwritten letter to the judge, rife with misspellings and incomplete sentences, Polaski explained that he and his wife, Lorraine, and Holland grew up together and reconnected in 2007 before settling in Kingman. Polaski said he was devastated when his wife of 42 years died in 2012, followed a week later by the death of his beloved dog Shieba.

Polaski indicated he was depressed and suicidal but that Holland refused his requests to loan him a gun to kill himself over a three-year period. He said that changed on July 26, 2015, when John pointed a gun at him and threatened to shoot him.

“I jumped up grabbed gun and fought. I seen (a) pocket knife on desk and stabbed John multiple times, til he dropped the gun,” Polaski wrote. “I stopped stabbing John and (he) died (a) couple minutes later in my arms.”

Polaski said he believes Holland was going to kill him so he could be reunited with his dearly departed wife and dog.

“That’s what friends are for in desperate times,” he said. “I am sorry John is dead. Wish it was me instead.”

Prosecutor Jonathan Taylor told Jantzen that Polaski allegedly engaged in fraud to gain power of attorney over Holland’s assets, “plundering” his bank account of roughly $1.5 million. Fraud, forgery and theft charges were dismissed in a plea agreement resulting in Polaski’s guilty plea.

Taylor said the theft scheme is the focus of ongoing investigation.

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