Trial opens in murder case

January 09, 2007|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,Sun reporter

The trial began yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court for a Baltimore DJ accused of strangling his girlfriend with a curling iron cord.

Thomas Ryan Jr., 29, found his 26-year-old girlfriend's body inside her Remington apartment on May 28. He told police he had pulled Anuradha Ramasamy's body down after he saw her hanging from a ceiling fan.

The trial hinges on whether it is medically possible that Ramasamy killed herself, or whether Ryan devised his story to cover up a killing.

He is charged with first-degree murder.

In his opening statement yesterday, Assistant State's Attorney Brian Fish said Ryan "created an alibi so that he would be charged with nothing."

Ryan's attorney Stephen R. Tully, in his opening, said Ramasamy's death was a tragedy, "not a murder."

The couple had been dating about three years and had a large social network at popular local clubs, where Ryan worked, and on the online community MySpace. They had broken up for two months last spring but had resumed dating about a week before Ramasamy's death.

Ryan told police he was at Ramasamy's apartment until the morning of May 27, when he left after an argument. That appears to be the last time anyone saw her alive.

The last person to speak with Ramasamy, her friend Colleen K. Broersma, testified yesterday that the two women had a telephone conversation about 1:30 p.m. May 27.

A witness for the defense, Ryan's friend and roommate Samantha Wales, testified that he was at their home - and in her sight almost the entire time - from 10 a.m. May 27, through the early-morning hours of May 28.

The medical examiner testified that the condition of Ramasamy's body indicated she died 24 to 36 hours before the first medical examination of her at 4:45 p.m. May 28.

The examiner also testified that it was "impossible" that Ramasamy's body had been positioned the way Ryan said he found it. He said the woman's blood had pooled in a way consistent with a body that had been lying facedown. He ruled the death a homicide.

Testimony was scheduled to continue today before Circuit Judge Paul E. Alpert. Ryan elected to have a judge rather than a jury decide his case. That decision has streamlined the trial, which the attorneys said might conclude this afternoon.

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