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Craig Titus & Kelly Ryan Investigation » Blog Archive » Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan were indicted Friday on felony charges

Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan were indicted Friday on felony charges

Bodybuilding couple indicted in live-in aide’s Las Vegas slaying
By KEN RITTER
ASSOCIATED PRESS

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Bodybuilders Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan were indicted Friday on felony charges accusing them of killing their live-in assistant and torching her body in the desert.

The married couple were accused of murder with a deadly weapon, first-degree kidnapping and accessory to murder by a Clark County grand jury that heard evidence they drugged, bound, shocked and strangled 28-year-old Melissa James in December.

The indictment unsealed Friday allows for one or several factors to have caused James’ death - including an overdose of morphine, duct tape on her face and several shocks with a Taser stun gun.

A county coroner’s autopsy in December left the cause of death undetermined and listed opiate intoxication as a contributing factor.

The indictment also accuses Titus, Ryan and an accomplice, Anthony Gross, with third-degree arson in the burning of James’ body. It was found early Dec. 14 in the trunk of Ryan’s burned-out Jaguar sedan off a desert highway southwest of Las Vegas.

The indictment handed up Thursday moves the case from local to state court, bypassing a preliminary hearing that had been scheduled next week. The charges carry the possibility of the death penalty, although prosecutors said they have not decided whether to seek it.

A judge set a Wednesday arraignment for Titus, 41, Ryan, 33, and Gross, 23. Titus and Ryan remained jailed in Las Vegas and Gross is under house arrest after pleading not guilty and posting $13,000 bail.

Lawyers for Titus and Ryan said their husband-and-wife clients aren’t guilty and are entitled to bail.

Titus’ lawyer, Richard Schonfeld, said he was disappointed prosecutors took the case to a grand jury, where evidence is presented in secret and defense lawyers are not present to cross-examine witnesses.

Ryan’s lawyer, Tom Pitaro, said he wanted to review the grand jury transcript before commenting.

Titus initially told police he’d had an affair with James. Later, Titus and Ryan told police they had evicted James from their house after discovering she was stealing from them, and that she stole Ryan’s car.

Titus and Ryan were arrested Dec. 23, at a nail salon in Stoughton, Mass. Police said the couple told investigators that James overdosed on drugs, and they panicked and burned her body - worried that publicity about the death would hurt their careers.

Titus was a 1996 bodybuilding champion and Mr. Olympia competitor. Ryan was a past Fitness America and Fitness International winner.

– From the Las Vegas Sun.

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