ROCKVILLE, Md. – Former oral surgeon James Ryan is facing a devastating guilty verdict of depraved-heart murder in Maryland. The jury found him guilty after months of evidence revealed that he supplied his girlfriend with addictive anesthesia solutions, leading to her fatal overdose. Now, a Montgomery County judge is set to sentence the 50-year-old defendant.
Prosecutors are seeking the maximum 55-year term, arguing that Ryan continued to give drugs to his girlfriend even as her weight dropped to 83 pounds. They described her as “helpless, hooked, and trapped,” and are pushing for the harshest punishment allowable.
However, Ryan’s attorneys are requesting a more lenient 18-to-20-year sentence, citing the recent death of “Friends” TV star Matthew Perry from the acute effects of one of the drugs that Ryan gave to his girlfriend. They argue that Ryan was trying to alleviate her pain but made the wrong decisions.
The case has sparked emotional testimony from both sides, with Harris’s cause of death being a matter of debate. While prosecutors claim that Ryan showed “extreme indifference” to her life, his lawyers stress that one of the drugs found in her body was taken by her own hand. The trial has shed light on the complexities of their relationship, with both the prosecution and the defense presenting conflicting narratives.
The dilemma now lies in the hands of the Circuit Court Judge Cheryl McCally, who is expected to consider the various factors at play before reaching a decision. The sentencing hearing is likely to be a somber and deeply emotional affair, reflecting the tragic consequences of a tumultuous and ultimately fatal relationship.