Convicted killer gets more jail time

Richard Ryan
Richard Ryan CDT photo

A man who has spent more than two decades in prison will spend more time there after his sentencing Thursday.

Judge Jonathan D. Grine sentenced Ryan Richard, 56, to seven to 17 years in state prison Thursday on charges stemming from a threatening phone call made to family members from Centre County Correctional Facility. Richard has already spent more than 25 years in prison for a Berks County murder, aggravated assault and is awaiting trial and sentencing on charges filed in Centre County.

On the day he was to be released from Rockview state prison in December 2012, Richard was arrested by state police on terroristic threats and harassment charges after his brother came forward with letters Richard sent to his mother with threats directed at witnesses, Berks County prosecutors and others involved in the murder case.

Additional charges were filed in April 2013 over a phone call Richard made to his daughter from the county jail. Richard was again accused of threatening his brother for producing the letters and also his daughter.

Some of the charges involving the letter were dismissed and Richard was acquitted of the others at a jury trial before Grine in November. He was convicted of a count of witness intimidation and two counts of terroristic threats stemming from the phone call.

Steve Trialonas, Richard’s attorney, asked Grine to impose a sentence of 1 to 2 days, plus time served, on two of the charges and 1-2 years on the other. Richard has been held at Centre County Correctional Facility for more than two and a half years.

Richard asked Grine for a light sentence, or at least a new trial, so he could start over and have a second chance. Richard characterized the cases against him as a “malicious overreach of the prosecution” that robbed him of that opportunity.

He accused District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller of having an ulterior motive for his prosecution. Richard said he thought she felt he should have received a life sentence in 1989, and was trying to make sure that happened.

“The trial wasn’t about a phone call,” Richard said. “It was about a 26-year-old murder and letters that were sent years ago that were only meant for my mother to read.”

Parks Miller, who described Richard as a “maniacal, obsessive man,” pushed for the maximum sentence of eight and a half to 18 years in prison. She pointed to the content of the letters, “Silence of the Lambs-type stuff” outlining, among other things, plans to cut off body parts, Richard’s prior record and parole denials for lack of remorse as reasons for the sentence.

“He’s a repeat felon,” Parks Miller said. “He’s not a guy that comes to court on just a phone call.”

Richard’s brother and daughter also asked Grine for the maximum sentence. The latter said she thought he was a threat to society and her and her family.

Trialonas said he was disappointed by the sentence and plans to appeal for a new trial to the state Superior Court.

Richard’s journey to Centre County began 26 years ago, when he pleaded guilty to the murder of his wife in 1989 in Berks County and was sentenced to seven and a half to 20 years in state prison, court documents indicate.

He was paroled in 2000 and free for about six months, but was again arrested in Berks County on aggravated assault charges after he rammed three police cruisers with his vehicle, injuring a police officer, while trying to escape arrest for a parole violation, the Pottstown Mercury reported that August.

Richard pleaded guilty to those charges and came to Rockview state prison while serving his sentence on those charges and his revoked parole from the murder charge.