Stobert 'Toby' Holt sentenced to 30 years for manslaughter, extortion

POLK COUNTY, Fla. - Stobert "Toby" Holt  was handed a 30-year prison sentence on Monday for the disappearance and death of his boss's son almost four years ago.

Holt was found guilty in January guilty of manslaughter and extortion.  The prison term is the maximum allowed by law.  He was also accused of kidnapping, but was acquitted on that count.

Robert Wiles disappeared from his family's aviation repair business in April 2008.

His father, who owned the business, received an email and text asking for $750,000. Investigators found those notes came from his son's cell phone.

Prosecutors used Wiles' cell phone signal as a key piece of evidence.  They said Holt's cell signal and the victim's followed a nearly identical path after the disappearance.

Holt testified someone with the victim's phone may have been following him, or maybe the matching signals were just a coincidence.  His defense also presented evidence they say showed tracing cell signals is not an exact science.

Wiles' body was never found and he is presumed dead. There is no physical evidence to show a murder, but investigators did find a gun in Holt's car.

The prosecution also brought up the possibility there was no kidnapping at all, and that that story was just a cover-up for the murder over a workplace grudge.

"It was motivated by ill will, by spite, by resentment. And it was certainly unjustified and inexcusable," said Assistant State Attorney Cass Castillo.

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