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Husband-wife bodybuilders to appear in court in Las Vegas slaying

By Ken Ritter - ASSOCIATED PRESS - 11:33 a.m. January 31, 2006
From SignOnSanDiego.com.

LAS VEGAS – Husband and wife professional bodybuilders Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan were scheduled to appear Wednesday in a Las Vegas court on felony charges in the slaying of their live-in personal assistant.

Ryan, 33, made an initial appearance Tuesday by closed-circuit video from Clark County jail while her lawyer sought another day to file a request to free her on bail.

“Yes, sir, your honor,” Ryan replied softly when Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe M. Bonaventure asked if she received a copy of a criminal complaint against her. She wore a blue jail uniform and shackles on her wrists. She was not asked to enter a plea to felony charges of accessory to murder and third-degree arson.

Titus, 41, also is expected to appear by video Wednesday for an initial appearance on murder and third-degree arson charges in the slaying of 28-year-old Melissa James.

“Our client is innocent,” Titus’ lawyer, Richard Schonfeld, told reporters outside court following Ryan’s court appearance.

Schonfeld said he and Boston-based lawyer Steven Boozang will seek “appropriate” bail for Titus, but did not specify an amount.

James, a former fitness instructor, moved from New Jersey to live with Titus and Ryan. Her body was found Dec. 14 in Ryan’s burned Jaguar off a desert highway outside Las Vegas.

Ryan’s lawyer, Tom Pitaro, said Tuesday he will ask the judge to set bail for Ryan at $13,000 – the same amount set in December for another alleged accomplice in the case, Anthony Gross.

Gross, 23, was arrested Dec. 21 and charged with accessory to murder and third-degree arson. He was later freed on bail and house arrest pending a preliminary hearing April 6.

Titus and Ryan were returned last week to Clark County jail from Stoughton, Mass., near Boston, where they were arrested Dec. 23.

Titus won a 1996 bodybuilding championship and competed in Mr. Olympia events. Ryan is a past Fitness America and Fitness International winner and Fitness Olympia runner-up.

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