Prisoner found dead in cell was murdered, state finds 'Blunt' blows to abdomen said to be cause of death

July 24, 1997|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

A convicted killer whose body was found in his cell in the Maryland House of Correction Annex in Jessup two weeks ago was murdered, according to the state medical examiner.

Richard W. Willoughby Jr., 37, of Annapolis died of "blunt force injuries" to his abdomen, the medical examiner said.

State police said they are investigating.

Willoughby's body was discovered shortly after 7 a.m. July 10, swollen and bruised, but authorities at the prison said foul play was not evident.

"It has been investigated as a homicide by state police from the beginning," said Capt. Greg Shipley, state police spokesman. "That was to ensure that nothing was overlooked and that everything was covered no matter what the outcome of the autopsy and forensic tests were."

Shipley would not say whether investigators knew of a suspect or what kind of weapon they thought was used in the beating.

Willoughby was sentenced to life without parole in September after pleading guilty to first-degree murder in the April 15, 1995, death of retired nurse Katherine Huntt Ryon, 74.

According to evidence, Ryon was strangled with a dog leash after letting Willoughby and his roommate, James McGee, 43, a longtime friend of her family, into her home in Wild Rose Shores tTC south of Annapolis.

McGee also was sentenced to life without parole.

Pub Date: 7/24/97

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