Police: man arrested for attempted murder after attacking Denison woman

Published: Jan. 2, 2020 at 6:15 PM CST
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A Denison woman is recovering in the hospital after police say she was nearly beaten to death early Wednesday morning by a man she barely knew.

Police say Zachary Jolliff broke into a house on East Sears Street in Denison, attacked a woman inside and left her for dead.

"It was a very gruesome, very aggressive, purposeful attack, and he told her many times he was there to kill her," said Amber Holley, sister-in-law of the woman attacked.

Police say after Jolliff broke into the home and attacked Ariel Holley, she was sent to a local hospital.

"He broke in through the front door, he drug her out of her bed where she was sleeping next to her four-year-old little boy," said Amber.

Her three other children were also in the home asleep.

"He said that my husband (Ariel's brother) is happy, she's happy (Ariel), and he's not happy, and nobody loves him, so she had to die, were his words to her," said Amber.

Amber described what happened to her sister-in-law as something out of a horror movie.

"He attempted to break her neck, she said at least 10 times. He tried smashing her trachea, he tried breaking her neck over the side of the bathtub. Tried gauging her eyes out, so we have specialists that are seeing her today," said Amber.

Eventually, Ariel passed out. When she came to the attacker was gone and that's when she was able to get help.

All four children slept through the ordeal.

Police say Jolliff was found just a couple of hours later.

"They worked nonstop until they tracked him down," said Amber.

Amber says Jolliff worked as an independent contractor for her family and had worked on Ariel's home.

"She didn't even know his last name, she really didn't know him," said Amber Holley.

Jolliff faces charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault causing serious injury and burglary.

Amber says her sister-in-law is recovering in a local hospital and is expected to be out in the coming days.

"We're just thankful that he's in jail, and she's alive," said Amber.

Jolliff is in the Grayson county jail on a $750,000 bond.

Ariel's family set up an account with First United Bank to pay for medical expenses. Anyone wishing to donate can go to any First United Bank location and ask for the Ariel Holley Fund. A coworker also set up a

account that has raised more than $50,000.

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