Ryan Holle did not kill anyone with his own hands. But he lent his car to friends who later killed a young woman in her home, and that was enough to convict Holle of first degree murder.
After a long, boozy night of partying in Pensacola in 2003, Holle handed the keys to his Chevy subcompact to four friends. They burglarized a house looking for cash and marijuana in a safe. They found $425, and used a butt of a shotgun to kill 18-year-old Jessica Snyder.
Holle was at home at the time, a mile and a half away, and had no prior criminal record. In later statements to police, Holle said he knew his friends were planning a burglary, but claimed he thought it was a joke: “I thought they were just playing around,” he said, according to reports in the Pensacola News Journal.
State prosecutors say Holle gave the killers bandanas that were used during the crime.
Holle was 21 when a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder. He had rejected a plea deal for a 10-year sentence in exchange for testifying against the others.
Now 32, he’s at Graceville Correctional Facility, a private prison a few miles from the Florida-Alabama border.
“We are opposed to any sort of commutation in this case,” said Greg Marcille, Pensacola’s chief assistant state attorney. “The defendant provided his automobile to be used during the crime. But for that, the crime would not have been committed.”
The combined opposition of prosecutors and the victim’s family makes Holle’s bid for release more difficult, a point Governor Scott raised Tuesday.