PORT CHARLOTTE , FLa. — Deputies arrested 27-year-old Ryan Clayton Cole who has an extensive criminal history.
Fox 4 digs deeper into Cole's past to understand how he ended up on the streets despite his lengthy criminal background. Fox 4 combed through Cole's booking sheets with Fort Myers attorney, Scot Goldberg.
Goldberg said Cole is a career criminal and explains why Cole was allowed back on the streets after so many arrests.
"What I see here is disturbing. We are going from 2011 to 2019. This is violations of probation. This is theft. This is drugs. You have a serial trespasser and serial burglar," said Goldberg.
According to booking sheets from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Cole has been charged with a series of crimes over the past ten years.
"In just 2019, I see multiple arrests resisting an officer and petit theft," said Goldberg.
Cole has been arrested more than 20 times.
"But most of his career crimes have been misdemeanors, so it handcuffs prosecutors to try to take this person off the streets for a longer period time," said Goldberg.
Attorney Scot Goldberg said with Cole’s smaller crimes, there’s very little police and the court can do because misdemeanors are only punishable up to a year in jail or probation.
"The worst charge he’s had as a felony has been related to drugs. Possession of a controlled substance without a prescription," said Goldberg.
That charge can be punishable up to five years in prison.
"But if it’s your first felony, you’re getting probation," said Goldberg.
The Charlotte County Sheriff said Cole was on probation when he allegedly broke into a home on Starlite Lane in Port Charlotte Thursday. Deputies believe Cole stabbed and killed a teenage boy who was protecting his younger sibling.
The sheriff said Cole has a history of drug use and was known to deputies.
“This person happens to be a known offender, and I’m telling you it’s not a policing issue, or judge issue or prosecutor issue, it's a society issue," said Goldberg. "We have drug addicts who are turning into serial criminals, and they are not being taught a lesson when they go to jail or probation."
Right now, Cole is in the Charlotte County jail. He’s accused of killing the teenage boy but charges related to that have not been released as the investigation is still ongoing.
Cole has been charged with Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling and Petit Theft.