If you are Ryan Holle, you should be pissed.
About ten years ago, you lend your roommate (William Allen Jr.) your car after a party. Being white boy wasted, you go to sleep (hell, it is 5 in the morning). Meanwhile, your roommate takes 3 other men with him to rob a local marijuana dealer. Things go wrong, which leads to the pot dealer’s 18 year old daughter being bludgeoned to death. This is a classic example of bad decisions leading to dire consequences.
As it turns out, everybody got a prison sentence (including Ryan Holle himself- more on that later). William Allen, Jr. received the death penalty. The killer, Charles Miller, received the death penalty as well. All the others that were involved in the crime received the same sentence as the killer. The “piss poor pot pusher” received 3 years for being a dope peddler. It seemed as if they were having a “sentencing party”.
It turned out that Ryan Holle received a piece of the sentencing cake with unnecessary icing. Ryan Holle himself was sentenced to life in prison without parole. His conviction was first degree murder. No, he was not directly involved with the crime and he vaguely recalled even knowing if the crime was going to occur. Still, he was convicted for murder back in 2004.
This was 10 years ago, people. A man is a criminal for lending a car and falling asleep in the early morning. Let that sink in for a minute.
Ryan Holle and the Felony Murder Rule
The main reason why Ryan Holle is going to prison is due to the felony murder rule. This rule was established for the sake of catching accomplices to crimes. From what the laywers, judges, prosecution, and jury saw, if Ryan Holle did not lend the car, there would not be a murder. So, by default, Ryan Holle is a criminal because he had “indirect involvement” in the murder. Therefore, the felony murder rule determined that Ryan Holle is a criminal because he “did his roommate a solid by lending his car”.
Mind you, the felony murder rule is abolished in places like England and Wales. But I digress.
Ryan Holle and the Dangerous Precedent
This entire conviction is problematic at its core. What it does is make it easy for anyone that has grossly minimal involvement in a crime to become convicted. Ryan Holle is in jail right now because he “overheard” his friends plan a robbery after he lent his car. Yet, there was no other involvement in a crime he had no plans on benefitting from. Within all of this, the prison industrial complex has another feeding system for its cells.
To add insult to injury, the criminal prosecution of this case occurred in Florida. If I was a Floridian, I would become tired of hearing my state being involved in consistent court cases consistent of cretinism.
To the credit of the prosecution, they had sordidly solid reason for Ryan Holle’s conviction. From their standpoint, they proved that Holle knew his car would be used for a crime. This can probably be acknowledged. Nevertheless, there is no true understanding of the flow of information and the validity/probability of Ryan Holle even believing William Allen Jr. I can still find it amazing that this man could still get passed a jury (in one entire day) with a murder conviction on his record.
There are probably other cases similar to this legal fiasco. In fact, I know of another man has been imprisoned for the past 20 or so years for a similar crime: Paul Modrowski. Paul, whom has autism, was also convicted of the murder of Dean Fawcett back in the 1990’s. They even associated him with the murders at Brown’s Chicken in the Chicago area(which would be cleared up later). With the murderer being acquitted by a separate jury, Paul Modrowski is also “guilty by association”(lending his car).
Ryan Holle and the Understanding
Ryan Holle should NOT be in prison for life without parole. This “accomplice by association” rule (felony murder rule) needs some serious rework. Ryan Holle has the outstanding honor to be a man convicted of murder while sleeping and nowhere near the crime scene. Remarkably, he did not get close to clemency. Let us see how this episode of “Trial Twilight Zone” will continue to play out.