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VOTER GUIDE: District Attorney

For the second election cycle in a row, Mary Ann Hollocker is challenging the incumbent district attorney for Henderson, Transylvania and Polk counties.

Hollocker, 53, is an associate litigation attorney with the Neumann Law Firm with a focus on domestic cases and civil litigation. Her children are Madilyn, 15, a freshman at Hendersonville High School, and Nicholas, 13, a seventh grader at Hendersonville Middle School.
Incumbent Andrew Murray was appointed D.A. last May after a Superior Court judge removed Greg Newman for misconduct. Murray, 60, lives in Flat Rock with his wife, Pam. His children are Drew, Derek and Josh (deceased).

Why are you running for District Attorney?

Hollocker: “I am running for District Attorney because I want our community to have the District Attorney’s office we deserve. The District Attorney’s office has not been functioning appropriately for at least the past eight years. The office is inefficient, cases are not resolved in a timely manner, victims and law enforcement are not informed of the status of their cases, they are not consulted regarding plea offers, reductions or dismissals. Victims and witnesses are required to attend every court hearing although there may be an agreement in advance to continue the case. This results in wasted time, loss of wages and repeatedly having to confront the accused.”


Murray: “The job of a District Attorney is to strive for justice by doing the right thing — every time! I am running to make a positive difference. My job is to seek justice for crime victims and to make our community as safe a place as possible to live, work, play and raise a family. I am committed to holding criminals accountable, making certain that violent criminals, drug traffickers and habitual offenders are no longer roaming our streets.”

Tell us about your background and experience that qualifies you to serve as district attorney.

Murray: “I have 14 years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor. Seven of the 14 years I served as the elected D.A. of the largest prosecutorial district in North Carolina. I served three years as President Trump’s handpicked U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. I have 35 years of combined active and reserve exemplary service with the U.S. Coast Guard, where I retired as a captain. As a leader, I have a proven track record for fairness, integrity beyond reproach, positive law enforcement relationships, for diligently advocating for victims and for holding criminal defendants accountable.”

Hollocker: “I have been licensed since 2001. I served as a deputy prosecutor in Hawaii for 12 years. I was the domestic violence prosecutor for five years and then moved to the violent crime unit for 7 years. I have tried everything from speeding tickets to murders. I served as magistrate judge in Henderson County for nearly five years. I served as the attorney for the Transylvania County Department of Social Services during which time I successfully converted the Department into a well-organized, efficiently functioning organization. I am currently in private practice handling cases involving marital relationships and other civil disputes.”


What priorities would you have for Prosecutorial District if you are elected?

Hollocker: “I will establish better relationships with law enforcement agencies in all three counties that will effectuate change in how cases are handled by this office. I will establish a drug court to handle low-level first-offender drug offenses as well as cases involving substance abuse and addiction. I will work toward effective communication with all agencies involved in the court system which includes probation, first responders, firefighters, mental health providers and others directly and indirectly affected by the criminal justice system. I am also considering implementing a Veteran’s Court similar to ones that have been adopted in other counties.”


Murray: “Since taking office in May of 2021 I have prioritized the backlog of Covid pandemic cases. I have streamlined our processes resulting in the successful convictions of murderers who have been sent to prison for life, including Phillip Michael Stroupe II. We have also secured prison sentences of 10-plus years for sex offenders harming children and drug traffickers that were poisoning our streets. My office will continue to prioritize and streamline sending violent offenders, habitual offenders, sex offenders and drug traffickers to prison. We will also continue to champion the rights of victims and provide them a bridge to needed resources and a strong voice.”

What proposals do you have to ensure speedy and efficient trials that preserve the rights of defendants and crime victims?

Murray: “Justice delayed is justice denied. Coming out of the Covid pandemic my office has worked hard to clear a backload of cases through trials and appropriate plea dispositions. A major constraint to the timely disposition of cases is the allotment of appropriate resources. In short, we need more courtrooms, judges, ADAs, public defenders, clerks and deputies to properly clear the backlog and to get ahead of the ever-increasing court load. I will be imploring our state and local partners that control the purse strings to provide the court personnel and equipment necessary to obtain justice efficiently and effectively for all.”

Hollocker: “I will eliminate the horrendous backlog of cases which was created and allowed by the former and current D.A. I will require the assigned assistant district attorneys to review their cases, consult law enforcement and the victim and based on those discussions decide if the case should be set for trial or a plea offer made. Victims and witnesses will only be required to come to court when there is a hearing, trial or sentencing. Prior to any hearing or trial, cases will be discussed with victims and witnesses so they will understand what will be occurring in court.”


Anything else you would want voters to know about your candidacy and plans should you win election?

Hollocker: “I am invested in our community and I want our community to thrive. I moved here to be with my parents in case they need something and also to raise my children here. I have been working within our local judicial system for the past 10 years. I know firsthand what the current problems are and I believe I can fix those problems based on my experience and the relationships I have built with this community.”


Murray: “I am a Christian, a dedicated husband and family man, and am passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of others. I am the only D.A. candidate who has effectively led and managed a prosecution office at both the state and federal levels. I was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as President Trump’s handpicked nominee as U.S. Attorney. I have been decorated for my effective leadership and management of numerous Coast Guard Reserve Units over my 35-year career. I am the only D.A. candidate who has been endorsed by Henderson County Sheriff Lowell Griffin and the Police Benevolence Association.”