BARTOW, Fla. — A man convicted of killing a former northwest Ohio resident was sentenced to 30 years in prison Monday for his role in the presumed 2008 death, although a body was never located.
Stobert L. Holt, Jr., 44, of Melbourne, Fla., received two consecutive 15-year sentences from a Polk County Circuit Court judge. He had been arrested and charged with murder, kidnapping, extortion, and intent to inflict bodily harm. Holt was convicted in the disappearance of Robert Wiles, the son of Springfield Township residents Thomas and Pamela Wiles, who has been missing since April 1, 2008.
A Polk County, Florida, jury deliberated for four hours before convicting Holt of extortion and making written threats to kill or do bodily harm to someone. On the first-degree murder charge, the jury found Holt guilty of manslaughter. Holt was acquitted of the kidnapping charge
Howardene Garrett, attorney for Holt, said the judge dismissed the making written threats to kill or do bodily harm to someone as in violation of double jeopardy with the extortion charge.
The victim’s father said he is still hopeful Holt will reveal the location of his son’s body.
“I don’t think he is going to get any mercy from anybody,” the older Mr. Wiles said. “He shows no remorse. When he was up on the stand, he was smiling like it was no big deal and he was sending out resumes from jail saying he would be available for interviews.”
Mr. Wiles, who has owned National Flight Services, an aircraft servicing, storage, maintenance, and repair business at Toledo Express Airport, since 1972, said he and his wife are devastated.
“Our son was a good citizen, a bright young man, and we can never replace him,” he said. “All we really have is our children and all the other stuff doesn’t mean anything, and this guy took one of ours away from us… He is just stupid and arrogant.”
According to the FBI and Florida police, Holt worked for Robert Wiles, who was 26 at the time of his disappearance. Mr. Wiles ran an operation of his family’s aircraft maintenance business, National Flight Services, at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Florida.
Mr. Wiles was last seen at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport about 6:30 p.m. April 1, 2008. His day was relatively routine, according to witnesses, but his activities on the afternoon of his disappearance are somewhat unclear, said Dave Couvertier, an FBI special agent and spokesman for the Tampa office.
Two days after he disappeared, his parents received a ransom note seeking $750,000. Mr. and Mrs. Wiles said that although they were willing to cooperate with any demands, they never heard from the abductors again. According to the FBI in Tampa, Mr. Wiles is presumed to be dead although his body has not been found. Holt was arrested in December, 2009.
-- Ignazio Messina