|Born||17 November 1982
|Status||Incarcerated in Wakulla Correctional Institution|
Ryan Joseph Holle (born on November 17, 1982) was convicted in 2004 of first-degree murder for lending his Chevrolet Metro to a friend, who used the car to drive others to a house in order to commit a burglary, during which a murder was committed. A former resident of Pensacola, Florida, United States, he is now serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole at the Wakulla Correctional Institution 20 miles southwest of Tallahassee.
On the early morning of 10 March 2003, after a night of partying, Holle lent his car to a friend and housemate, William Allen Jr. Allen used the car to drop three men off at the house of a known drug dealer, Christine Snyder, where they removed a safe containing a pound of marijuana and US$425. During the burglary, one of the men, Charles Miller Jr., used a shotgun he had found in the house to bludgeon to death the drug dealer's 18-year-old daughter, Jessica Snyder. Holle was a mile and a half away.
Prosecutors sought the death penalty for Charles Miller Jr., who confessed to the killing, but he was sentenced to life without parole on 12 May 2005. The two men who entered the Snyders' home with him each received the same sentence, as did the driver, William Allen Jr.
Holle, who had given the police statements in which he seemed to admit knowing about the burglary, was convicted on 3 August 2004 of first-degree murder under a legal doctrine known as the felony murder rule. The doctrine broadens murder liability for participants in violent felonies to include a killing by an accomplice. As the prosecutor David Rimmer explained: "No car, no murder." The victim's father, Terry Snyder, concurred: "It never would have happened unless Ryan Holle had lent the car. It was as good as if he was there."
Allen said in a pretrial deposition that all Holle did "was go say, 'Use the car.' I mean, nobody really knew that girl was going to get killed. It was not in the plans to go kill somebody, you know."
In a 2007 interview with the New York Times Holle stated that "I honestly thought they were going to get food" adding that "When they actually mentioned what was going on, I thought it was a joke." He explained that he was naive, and had been drinking all night, so he "didn't understand what was going on."
Holle was the only involved person to be offered a plea bargain that might have led to only 10 years in prison but he refused the deal. Holle's trial lasted one day, including testimony, jury deliberations, conviction, and sentencing.
Details of Holle's case appear on the website of the American Judicature Society under the heading of "Defendants Spared from Death Sentences by Prosecutors." Holle's life was spared despite the crime receiving a rating of 5 "depravity points" according to their scale: 2 points for the murder, 2 for the bludgeoning, and 1 for the home invasion. A mitigating circumstance was checked off for intoxication which may have impacted Holle's fateful decision.