A former Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper received a 15-year prison sentence for an elaborate scheme to kill a Wal-Mart truck driver and seek a settlement from the corporation, the Justice Department announced.
U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson handed down the sentence to Franklin Joseph Ryle Jr., who stopped the truck on the evening of Jan. 8, intending to murder the driver and stage an accident with the truck that would either injure him or kill Ryle's wife.
"This officer abandoned his law enforcement role and engaged in a bizarre scheme to target innocent victims for his own personal gain," said Thomas E. Perez, an assistant attorney general. "Officers who abuse their power in this way will be prosecuted to the fullest extent the law allows."
Ryle stopped the driver on an isolated stretch of Interstate 25, a few miles southeast of Douglas, Wyo. After collecting his license, Ryle falsely told the driver that there was a warrant for his arrest. Ryle arrested him, handcuffed him, and locked him in the back seat of his patrol car.
Ryle drove his prisoner into Douglas where he unsuccessfully sought help with his scheme from his wife and two law enforcement officer friends. Ultimately, Ryle released the driver after he determined that the scheme would fail due to the presence of GPS equipment in the truck.