Former HA associate loses appeal
A former associate of the Maple Ridge Hell Angels has lost his appeal to have his sentence reduced after being convicted of manslaughter in the shooting of a rival drug dealer, also believed to be working for the Hells Angels.
Ryan Randolph Holden, 31, shot and killed Kelly Roney, 60, in Dawson Creek in 2007, believing Roney to be responsible for a previous attempt on his life.
Holden was convicted of manslaughter and given a 10-year sentence, but had that reduced to two years after being given eight years credit for his time spent in pre-trail custody.
However, his defense team argued in the appeal that Holden should have received a sentence of eight years, resulting in time served, due to the violence he suffered in pre-trail custody, and his resulting mental illness.
According to B.C. Court of Appeal documents, Holden, a college graduate who once worked in the natural gas industry, turned to drug dealing, and at one time worked for the Maple Ridge chapter of the Hell Angels biker gang and made $40,000 per month selling cocaine in Northern B.C.
However, that arrangement was eventually foiled by rival drug dealer Roney, Holden believed. In 2004, an associate of Roney drove his car into Holden’s house, and Holden’s car was later set on fire in his driveway.
In June 2007, Holden spotted Roney’s truck outside a pub in Dawson Creek. Holden then retrieved his father’s rifle, and laid in wait for Roney.
When Roney exited the pub, Holden shot him once through the heart.
Holden disposed of the rifle, took funds from his bank and fled B.C. He was eventually arrested in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
At the trial, Holden claimed he was aiming for Roney’s leg, and was convicted of manslaughter, despite being charged with first degree murder.
“It was clear from the evidence led at trial, Mr. Holden’s address to the jury ... and the judge’s findings, that Mr. Holden has no remorse or regret for what he did,” said Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett in her decision to the appeal. “In his view, Mr. Roney deserved what he got.”
After his arrest, Holden was detained in pre-trial custody for four years, where he was severely beaten by other prisoners, and possibly suffered brain damage, according to the appeal ruling. He was eventually diagnosed with a delusional disorder.
Holden’s defense team argued, “the sentencing judge failed to give adequate weight to rehabilitation and mitigating factors, including the pre-trial custody, his mental illness, education, employment history and supportive family.”
Specifically, Holden should have been given enhanced credit for the time he spent in pre-trial custody, beyond the standard two-to-one.
However, in her decision, Bennett stated that enhanced credit is rare, and at the discretion of the sentencing judge.
“In my view, the judge committed no error in principle when he concluded that enhanced credit was not appropriate in this case,” she said in her decision.
Justices S. David Frankel and Kathryn E. Neilson agreed with the decision.