Samantha Hughes, the girlfriend of accused killer Jacob Holly, 27, of Rogers, said she never expected her boyfriend’s fishing trip to result in a murder charge.
Hughes and those who know him said Holly acted in self-defense when killed one man and wounded another during an alleged attack at the White River near Elkins Saturday night.
"I remember thinking this cannot be possible," Hughes said.
The body of Chris Kelley, 44, was pulled out of the White River Sunday. His son, 22-year-old Shawn Kelley was hospitalized Saturday night, according to police.
Washington County deputies said Holly flagged down an off-duty officer and admitted to stabbing the two men, but claims it was after they tried to drown him.
"Oh yeah, definitely it had to be in self-defense,” Travis Bramall, a friend of Holly’s. “I mean, he didn't wake up one morning and say ‘Hey, I'm going to hurt somebody.’"
Holly was a in charge of the maintenance at the Casa Maria apartments in Rogers and also lived there. His neighbors said he took care of the complex well and never saw a problem with Holly.
"He's a sweet person who would never hurt anybody," Cristal Fabricio said.
Holly’s girlfriend, who's expecting his child in October said Holly was alone fishing for his birthday when he met the Kelleys and added that what started out friendly turned violent.
"He felt like things were getting tensed so he was going to leave,” she said. “Then the next thing I know Jake is calling me, begging me to call 911 because something horrible has happened and people were trying to kill him."
Police arrived soon after and a 16-hour search for the elder Kelley’s body began, while Holly was taken into custody.
"After he got booked back in, he was able to call me and he was just beside himself, ‘better me in the river than him,’” Hughes said. “I didn't want to kill anyone."
Hughes said Holly isn’t a violent person.
"He is not the type to go after trouble, he's the same person, there is one of him and three of them,” Hughes said.
Deputies have not identified a third suspect in the alleged attack.
Now Holly is jailed and facing a second-degree murder charge.