A Colorado Springs teenager will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing a developmentally disabled man in what a judge described as a “murder for sport.”
After about two days of deliberation, a seven-woman, five-man jury found Kyle Sebastian Stott, 19, guilty of all counts, in the January 2009 slaying of Jason Holley, whose body was hidden in a ravine near a hiking trail in North Cheyenne Canyon west of Colorado Springs.
Stott remained impassive, but one of his sisters started to sob as 4th Judicial District Judge Deborah Grohs read the verdict to a packed courtroom.
The jury found Stott guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, robbery of an at-risk adult, conspiracy and being an accessory to a crime.
After a brief recess, Grohs imposed the two mandatory sentences of life in prison without parole plus an additional 35 years for aggravated robbery.
Stott declined to address the court and showed little reaction as the judge imposed the life sentence.
The judge blasted Stott for his role in a “murder for sport.”
She said Holley was slain for no other reason than “bragging rights.”
“It was absolutely senseless. It’s unimaginable, and it’s unexplainable,” she said.
She said “at-risk adults” deserve special protections, and that crimes against them should be punished more severely.
“Mr. Holley was one of these special members of the community that we as citizens have an obligation to protect.”
Rather than protect Holley, she said, Stott exploited his weaknesses.
“He trusted you,” Grohs said. “He would have given you anything, and he did,” she continued. “You could have taken the Xbox and he never would have told anybody. … He was trying to be normal, and be a buddy, or one of the guys.”
Holley’s parents, Jan Holley of Colorado Springs and Mike Holley of Durango, were too overcome by emotion to attend the sentencing, family members said.
His aunt, Kathy Bailey of Michigan, described the trial as a “very long journey” and thanked the court and police detectives who brought Stott to justice.
“The family is so grateful to the entire community for all the help it provided,” she said after the sentencing. “We just want to thank everybody who helped us in our desperate hour.”
Jason Holley’s older brother, Nikolaus Holley, said “justice was served in the name of my brother.”
He remembered his brother as a kindhearted and caring.
“My brother was just so happy, all the time, and always in the moment,” he said. “That’s something I take away from him and want to put in my life.”
Stott and his brother-in-law Derek Lee Hernandez, 22, were both charged with killing Holley. They were arrested in May 2009 after Stott led Colorado Springs Police to the body. Hernandez is scheduled to face a separate trial in August.
Lance Benzel contributed to this story.