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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Newman Lake man pleads guilty in beating death of girlfriend

A Newman Lake man accused of beating his girlfriend to death in November pleaded guilty Friday.

Nick Holden, 29, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, a charge stemming from an allegedly drunken, violent rage the morning after Thanksgiving at his father’s home.

Holden admitted to striking 30-year-old Tina Stewart, a mother of two, multiple times in the face and kicking her while she was on the ground, according to a police report.

He told deputies he woke up at about 4 a.m. and found Stewart with blood and vomit coming from her mouth and nose, and that she was “cool to the touch and unresponsive.” He cleaned her up and then went back to sleep. He told deputies he did this again two hours later.

Deputies found bruises covering the majority of her face, swollen cheeks, and bruising on her chest and stomach.

Tensions between Holden and Stewart’s families erupted after Dec. 17 hearing when a fight broke out between two men in the the hallway of the Spokane County Courthouse.

Over a dozen of Stewart’s family members – many wearing T-shirts with a screen-print picture of Stewart – witnessed Holden plead guilty Friday.

“He may have taken Tina’s life, body and soul from us. But he’ll never take her legacy. Her legacy will live on,” Stewart’s uncle, Don Estes, told reporters outside of the courthouse.

Holden, who pleaded not guilty in January, is scheduled for sentencing June 1. He faces up to 25 years in prison.