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Murder case records detail sordid lives

The following was from the Las Vegas Review Journal…

June. 04, 2006 - Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

Murder case records detail sordid lives

By GLENN PUIT - REVIEW-JOURNAL

For more than a decade, Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan knew what it was like to be at the pinnacle of fitness and weightlifting competitions.

But as their careers on the national fitness stage wound down, the two at times were living a wild, drug- and sex-fueled lifestyle in Las Vegas, according to police statements and grand jury testimony in the couple’s murder case.

For example, according to a police inventory report observed by the Review-Journal, police searched the couple’s home in southwest Las Vegas in December and found a videotape depicting “footage of a sexual encounter with Titus, Ryan and an unidentified female.”

The report does not indicate that Melissa James — the couple’s personal assistant and the woman who Titus and Ryan are now accused of killing — is on the tape.

According to police reports obtained by the newspaper, one witness, Gregory E. Ruiz, 28, of Las Vegas, told homicide detectives Titus and Ryan were into an alternative lifestyle.
“They’re into swinging,” Ruiz said. “They like having girlfriends over.”

Ruiz said Titus “used to go tell me all the time” to have sex with Ryan.

“I’m from a straight up family,” Ruiz said. “Me and my wife, that’s it.”

Ruiz told police he went into a clothing line business venture with Titus because Titus was a huge celebrity in the weightlifting world, but he soon realized Titus had a drug problem.

He said he witnessed Titus injecting Oxycontin, a strong and often-abused narcotic pain reliever. Titus didn’t seem to care who saw him doing it, he said.

“He wouldn’t hide it from nobody, which was really embarrassing.

“He always carries little needles … and it was the most awfulest thing ever,” Ruiz told police.

Titus already has told police he had steroids in his house at the time of his arrest in James’ death.

In addition, Ryan’s self-described best friend, Megan Michelle Pierson, told police James once told her Ryan was shooting cocaine with a needle.

James believed Ryan “was becoming very addicted to cocaine,” Pierson said.

Pierson said she and a friend were planning an intervention for Ryan.

Titus’ defense attorney, Richard Schonfeld, would not address individual statements made to police for this story. Ryan’s attorney, Tom Pitaro, declined comment. Both defendants have pleaded innocent to the charges.

Schonfeld said, however, that the drug allegations against Titus will be contested.

Schonfeld also said Titus and Ryan were people who dedicated their professional lives to improving their bodies, not polluting them.

“He (Titus) rose to the level of success that other amateur and pro body builders strive for,” Schonfeld said.

In addition, Schonfeld said the credibility of several witnesses who gave statements to authorities will come into serious question once the trial unfolds.

“Drug use affects peoples’ credibility,” Schonfeld said. “There is case law on it.”

Titus and Ryan are two of the most recognized figures in their respective sports. Ryan is a 33-year-old past Ms. Fitness America and Ms. Olympia runner-up, and Titus is a 40-year-old past place-winner of international Mr. Olympia competitions.

Clark County prosecutors indicted the married couple in March on charges they kidnapped and murdered James, 28, in December.

Authorities said the couple used a stun gun on James, drugged her with morphine, strangled her and set the remains ablaze in Ryan’s Jaguar.

Authorities also indicted a co-defendant, Anthony Gross, on charges he helped dispose of the body.

A motive in the case remains convoluted. Titus and Ryan originally told police they suspected James — who has an arrest history for identity theft — was stealing from them and possibly planning to steal their identities.

Ryan even told police she was starting to suspect James was possibly trying to poison her.

The couple later told police they found James dead in their car of a drug overdose, a hypodermic needle in her arm. The couple said they panicked and burned the body, but it wasn’t murder.

But in a police report, a detective said Titus confided to him that he was having an affair with James, which Ryan did not know about. Schonfeld has said this is blatantly false.

According to police reports and witness statements, James lived with Titus and Ryan but did not pay rent or receive a salary. Instead, she simply ran errands for them and helped them with other tasks.

In his witness statement given to police, Ruiz said Titus clearly had a serious drug problem.

“That was a big, big thing. Big big thing.”

“And everyone would say the same thing about him, what the (expletive) is this guy doing?” Ruiz said.

Ruiz said he never saw Ryan doing drugs, but merely heard accounts from others. He said of her friends: “They wanted to do an intervention.”

It is true that friends wanted to do an intervention. We’ve personally heard from friends who said they attempted to do just that. The part about “swinging” has nothing to do with anything related to this case and is embarassing that it is even mentioned. The couple’s sexual likes or dislikes is irrelevant to this case as we see it.

13 Responses to “Murder case records detail sordid lives”

  1. mynameisearl Says:

    If Schoenfeld is saying the police report is false, is he saying the police lied or “misunderstood” Craig? What a piece of work this attorney is. I would believe a police officer over Craig Titus, a convicted felon, any day.

    I don’t know if I would agree about the swinging lifestyle being irrelevant. I am not a swinger but I think drugs might factor into a swingers lifestyle. I also think the information about swinging gives you some pretty good insight into their lifestyle and character. Kelly does not seem as sweet and clean now like she looks on the pages of Oxygen magazine.

  2. ya right Says:

    Thats pretty closed minded of you to say basically that all swingers use drugs. Just like you said you are not a swinger so maybe keep those ideas to yourself. I am sure you must think the same of bodybuilders which is also shit.

  3. ItIsn'tALifestyleProblem Says:

    Not all swingers are into the drugs and booze nor does it define their character, I have friends that have chosen that life.

    I dont condone the lifestyle, but this is an issue that has NO bearing on the case….

  4. formerfitness Says:

    Anyone involved in the fitness scene, be it amateur or professional, sooner or later comes to find that ‘committing your body’ to an ideal often goes hand in hand (and sometimes required- if you want to place) with illegal substances. Shonfeld should consider this when stating the pair as ‘committed to improving their bodies’….Careful there…….
    Whether viewed as wrong or right, this statement is laughable if Shonfeld is trying to defend character.
    It is sad how many women looked up to Kelly. obviously one thing leads to another… how sad. murder or not- this is a lifestyle that crossed the line.
    Burning a body in a car (murdered or not) is the most heinous, cruel,
    unspeakable act totally devoid of dignity to its victim. Not to mention her family.

  5. Couldn't Care Less Says:

    I feel for Craig’s daughter who no doubt had a very troubled day thinking of who her dad was and who has become.

    Kelly’s dad must have had a bad day himself for reasons that need no mention.

    For those who may not think I have one, my heart goes out to these two people who continue to hurt from this saga. May your pain subside with time.

  6. Detective Y Says:

    I am a detective with a premier law enforcement agency. In my experience, lifestyle practices depict a clear picture of perpetrators. The actual lifestyle practices of high profile suspects are often unknown to those following their careers; furthermore, people often find it hard to believe that celebrities can commit violent crimes, such as murder. It is important to remind ourselves that the image portrayed by celebrities in the media is not often associated with their actual self image. The allegation that Craig and Kelly Ryan practice the swinging lifestyle is directly related to this case, because it estabishes a relationship, beyond business, with the victim.

    Since no clear cut motive has been established, my experience tells me that the answers exist with the victim and not necessarily Craig and Kelly Ryan. If I was the Prosecutor (and I am sure they have run this scenario…but I would not be suprised if they didn’t), I would thoroughly review the autopsy for a positive pregnancy on the victim. Some element of the victim is “legally” tied to Craig and Kelly Ryan’s finances, and the mention of stolen identities, money transfers, and poison is ridiculous.

  7. Who Cares Says:

    It appears that interest in Craig and Kelly has waned. What a feeling to be locked up and forgotten. They certainly earned it.

  8. observer Says:

    Not forgotten, at this point everything has been said.

    Once the trial begins, things should get interesting again.

  9. WTF Says:

    This is true however for the time being, it appears that no one cares about either of them.

    Her recent conversion to bible thumping might give Craig reason to be concerned since cleansing her conscience could land him in the hot seat.

    As the trial approaches, it will be interesting to see who contributes to the legal defense fund. We know how bodybuilders are frugal people. Like when Dennis Newman received thousands for his medical bills and purchase a new Acura NSX with the money the day he was dischared.

    Perhaps Joe Weider himself might foot the bill. Yea right!
    Looks like it’s the old public defender for these two.

  10. mynameisearl Says:

    fyi ya right, I never said all swingers are into drugs. Closed minded about swinging? no, just ignorant about swinging. Oh well, there are worse things to be close minded and ignorant about. And as for bodybuilders, I love them and more importantly I completely and totally respect their work and look up to a few of them. Which is why this case bothers me to no end. and finally ya right, dont tell people on this forum to keep their ideas to themself, that is close-minded.

    I am annoyed that kelly put on this sweet little me fascade, and then people talk about how it is all craigs fault she is where she is. She is no better than he is. The people who defend her make me ill.

    Apparently they were swingers. Yippee, what ever works for you and your “marriage of strength”.

    I just hope the complete truth comes out and karma pays them both a visit.

  11. ya right Says:

    ignorant is the word i should have used lol.

  12. mynameisearl Says:

    we are all ignorant about something, i dont proclaim to know it all, unlike some that visit here.

  13. Comment grnt Says:

    Look, in a real world they lived in it happened so fast. You have to feel for Craigs daughter although! I blame Kelly she did it he helped cover it up , BAD COVER UP and now he has to see it threw. This is why she fired the other counsel so titus didn’t spill the truth. There sticking it out. SHe wasn’t going to claim abuse he’d claim he hel;ped her cover it up! Think of how lucky we all are and next time your confronted with a situation due the right thing and remember we all started out as lil ones and life is short.

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