PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (WWSB) - The State Attorney’s Office announced Friday they will be seeking the death penalty against Ryan Cole, a 27-year-old man accused of killing a 15-year-old boy in September 2019 in Charlotte County while the teen was protecting his 5-year-old sister.
Around 4pm on Thursday, September 26, deputies were called to Starlite Lane and Ocean Boulevard in Port Charlotte where neighbors said an injured man had been seen walking along the streets.
When deputies arrived, they spotted 27-year-old Ryan Cole. He had been stabbed several times on his hands and side and ran from deputies, crossing the canal towards Conway Boulevard.
Deputies say Cole broke into a home on Conway. The homeowner called 911 and deputies took him into custody after a short foot pursuit. Cole was then taken to be treated at a local hospital for his wounds.
The sheriff’s office says they began canvassing the neighborhood and discovered that Cole had broken into a home on Starlite Lane. Inside, they found 15-year-old Khyler Edman deceased.
Deputies say Cole broke into the home, a violent encounter occurred, and Edman died protecting his younger sibling.
The sheriff’s office did not release how Edman died and initially stated the family wished for privacy, but the teen’s family came forward to say Edman was killed in the home while protecting his 5-year-old sister, who was found in the home unharmed.
An obituary for Edman says he “was full of life, enjoying fishing, travels to the beach, special trips to Zoomers where he especially loved the bumper cars and riding bikes with his friends. He was an avid lover of the outdoors and a forever fan of the Gators. He was also a member of ROTC at Charlotte High School, where he trained and prepared for his future following graduation."
"Mostly, he is known for his unselfishness, always putting others before himself. Khyler will always hold the title of an awesome big brother to his siblings, especially his sister. He was kind, caring, loving, and will be missed by many.”
Edman was laid to rest on Thursday, October 1 in Port Charlotte. A GoFundMe account raised more than $85,000 for Edman’s family.
Cole was initially held on charges of burglary of an occupied dwelling and petit theft for the break-in on Conway as deputies investigated what happened at the home on Starlite Lane. On Thursday, October 31, those charges were finalized and Cole was additionally charged with second degree murder.
The sheriff’s office says there’s nothing to identify why Cole chose Edman’s home to burglarize and they have found no connection to the family.
Cole, who has a history of drug use, is known to deputies and was on probation at the time of Edman’s murder. He’s had several arrests in Port Charlotte this year, including:
- February 15 - Trespassing and Resisting an Officer Without Violence
- March 13 - Possession of a Controlled Substance Without a Prescription and Possession or Use of Drug Paraphernalia
- June 11 - Trespassing and Resisting an Officer Without Violence
- June 30 - First Degree Petit Larceny
- August 6 - Disorderly Conduct and Resisting an Officer Without Violence