A Maryland dentist has been found guilty of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of his girlfriend, who overdosed on addictive anesthesia medications at their home.
Who is James Michael Ryan? Dentist found guilty of murder after girlfriend’s overdose
Dr James Michael Ryan, 50, was convicted by a jury in Montgomery County on Friday after a two-week trial. He is facing up to 55 years in prison.
The prosecution argued that Ryan, who is a well-trained oral surgeon, knew the risks of the drugs he was providing to his girlfriend, Sarah Harris, 25. They said he gave her the drugs over a period of time, even as he watched her health deteriorate.
“Every time he gave her those drugs, a little bit of Sarah died,” said Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Harrison. “Until he gave them to her one too many times and he killed her.”
Ryan’s defense team argued that he did not intend to kill Harris and that she was responsible for her own addiction. However, the jury found that Ryan had acted with “depraved heart” in providing Harris with the drugs.
Harris and Ryan met in 2020 when she visited his office for a medical procedure. They began dating shortly after and moved in together in the summer of 2021.
In January 2022, Harris was found unresponsive at the couple’s home. She was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy determined that she died of ketamine and diazepam intoxication.
The investigation into Ryan’s role in Harris’ death began when authorities responded to a call about an overdose at the couple’s home. Ryan told police that he had gone to bed the night before and found Harris unresponsive the next morning.
The jury also found Ryan guilty of possession with the intent to distribute midazolam and distribution of ketamine and diazepam. He is scheduled to be sentenced on November 10.