Oral surgeon facing 55 years for murder

In a shocking turn of events, a prominent Maryland oral surgeon, Dr. James Ryan, 50, has been convicted of second-degree murder in the death of his 25-year-old girlfriend, Sarah Harris. Harris was found lifeless in their shared Montgomery County home in January 2022, with a plethora of pill bottles scattered around her. Post-mortem examinations revealed that Harris succumbed to an overdose of ketamine and diazepam.

Jennifer Harrison, the Assistant State’s Attorney for Montgomery County, argued during the trial that Ryan, an experienced oral surgeon, was well-versed in the risks associated with the drugs he was supplying to Harris. Despite witnessing her health deteriorate, Ryan persistently provided Harris with these lethal anesthetic drugs. Harrison emphasized that with each dose Ryan gave Harris, it was as if a piece of her was fading away, until the drugs eventually claimed her life.

The police were first alerted to the couple’s residence on January 26, 2022, following an overdose report. Upon their arrival, they discovered Harris’ body and an assortment of drug paraphernalia typically found in medical settings. Ryan’s arrest was announced by Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones in a press conference in March 2022.

Ryan’s defense, led by attorney Thomas DeGonia, argued that Harris had voluntarily taken the drugs to cope with her depression. DeGonia suggested the possibility of suicide or accidental overdose, pointing out that Harris’ brother had passed away just months before her.

The couple first crossed paths in October 2020 at Ryan’s practice, Evolution Oral Surgery, during Harris’ wisdom-tooth extraction procedure. Ryan later offered Harris a job at his office, and they began dating around the beginning of 2021, eventually moving in together later that summer.

Over the course of their relationship, Harris’ physical health visibly declined, raising alarm among her friends and family. On two separate occasions, Harris was discovered at home surrounded by empty medicine bottles. Police obtained text messages showing Harris frequently asking Ryan to bring home drugs and drug paraphernalia, with Ryan advising her on how to achieve the strongest effect from certain drugs.

Ryan is now facing a potential maximum sentence of 55 years for second-degree murder and other related charges.