William Dathan Holbert
William Dathan Holbert II
William Dathan Holbert
(1979-09-12) September 12, 1979
Hendersonville, North Carolina, United States
|Other names||William Adolfo Cortez|
|Criminal penalty||47 years|
|July 26, 2010|
William Dathan Holbert (born September 12, 1979), also known as Wild Bill, is a self-confessed murderer from Hendersonville, North Carolina. He is currently serving a 47-year sentence for the killings of five Americans in Panama.
William Dathan Holbert was born on the 12th of September, 1979 in the tiny hamlet of Saluda, North Carolina. Located deep in the rural mountains of Western North Carolina, Holbert's family owned and managed a small apple orchard and cattle ranch.
Holbert attended high school in the neighbouring city of Hendersonville, North Carolina. There he played high school football and was elected by his teammates as one of two "Field Generals" or the defensive captain of the team.
As a student, Holbert was remembered as gifted, but with an unremarkable grade-point average by his teachers. He was also known as a troublemaker. He graduated from North Henderson High School in 1997.
Holbert was cited by a game warden in 1996 when he was seventeen years of age for illegally hunting on federal land. He was not arrested but was fined and released, but otherwise had no arrests or convictions as a minor.
Holbert sought an Associate Degree in Agriculture from Blue Ridge Community College.
From 2003 to 2005 Holbert led the Southern National Patriots, a militia and fledgling political party based in Western North Carolina.
The group was a controversial conservative activist organization. Members were often seen in uniform on the streets of Forest City, North Carolina.
At its height, the organization boasted five hundred active members and acquired a meeting house on Main Street in Forrest City, North Carolina.
The group was criticised as being a racist organization in 2005 by the local branch of the NAACP.
Holbert refuted this charge, offering that several of the group's members were African American.
The group collapsed in 2005 when Holbert left the U.S.
Prosecutors allege Holbert confessed to killing five expats in Panama to get their money and properties. Prosecutors say Holbert befriended the victims, shot them in the head, buried their bodies, and then stole their homes and businesses.
Holbert now operates and chairs Los Reos Unificados, a syndicated Christian inmate organization, on the national level in the Republic of Panama. Holbert also operates Panama Human Rights, an international human rights organization for prisoners. In September 2014, Holbert's lawyer issued a statement saying that Holbert had been appointed Chaplain of the Catholic Church in the Public Jail of David; however, the Directorate General for Prisons immediately issued a statement of denial indicating that was not the case.
Six years after his confession for the killing five people in Panama, the Superior Court of the province of Chiriqui in Panama set a trial date for December 5, 2016.
Holbert was sentenced to 47 years on the 14th of August 2017 for the killings of the five victims in Panama.
Holbert immediately appealed the sentence citing Panama's twenty-year maximum penalty at the time of the murders. His appeal was submitted to the Supreme Court on the 11th of January 2018. The appeal is currently in process in the Supreme Court of the Republic of Panama.
Holbert was appointed pastor of the Sector C section of Panama's largest prison, La Nueva Joya, in March of 2020.
Holbert has been endorsed as a Christian leader by many known ministries, including that of Pastors Dennis Torres and Reymundo Paz.
Holbert preaches a very strictly evangelical, non-denominational fundamentalism.
He holds a leadership position inside the super-max facility.
"The glory and honor for Jesus Christ my King and Jehovah our Father," the news media quoted Holbert in October of 2020. 
Dateline NBC season 20 episode 7 "Rescue on the Mountainside/Stealing Paradise", original air date October 2010. Kate Snow investigates Cher Hughe, a resident of Panama and her ties to Holbert and Reese's criminal ways.
In 2016, a detailed account of Holbert's crimes written by Nick Foster, The Jolly Roger Social Club: A True Story of a Killer in Paradise, was published.
In January 2019, The Daily Mirror published an exposé on Holbert's supposed "Rockstar" existence inside the New Chiriqui Public Prison. The online edition alleged that Holbert enjoys prostitutes and firearms inside the prison and feasts on fast food daily. They further report on Holbert's status as the leader of various violent gangs.
Holbert was criticized by the authorities for publishing photos of prison officials in 2015. The prison system of Panama keeps staff members' names private. Holbert, alleging corruption, published photos of several government functionaries. A corruption scandal ensued in the prison system and several high-level officials of the now-defunct David Public Prison were fired or sanctioned by the government. Holbert did an interview with the Daily Mail January 15, 2019 outlining the conditions of the Panamanian prison systems.
Holbert has been married three times. He has three children by his first wife, a Western North Carolina native. Holbert was married to his first wife from 1998 to 2004. He married Laura Michelle Reese, also a Western North Carolina native, in Costa Rica in late 2007. Reese was arrested with Holbert in 2010. The couple divorced in 2013 in the Republic of Panama, citing mutual infidelity.
On January 17, 2019 Holbert married a Panamanian woman, Elizabeth Nuñez. The ceremony took place inside the new Chiriqui public prison and was attended by local notary public. Holbert enjoys conjugal visits. These intimate visits are allowed by Panamanian law to the 17,000+ prisoners of that Nation.
In late 2019, Holbert presented his prison memoir, which is an endorsement of Jesus Christ and Christianity called, Long Live the King, to the public.
Holbert sells his memoir online on a website set up by his friends and family outside.
- Foster, Nick. The Jolly Roger Social Club: A True Story of a Killer in Paradise (Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd, 2016). ISBN 9780715651353.