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News Maryland Anne Arundel County

Crofton man received life sentence in 2012 killing

A Crofton man was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison plus 20 years for the killing of a Frederick man who prosecutors said had been his partner in a drug operation.

Michael Stahlnecker, 51, was sentenced in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court for the November 2012 killing of John Patrick Ryan.

State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said in a release that Ryan had been under investigation by Frederick County officials on suspicion that he was involved in a marijuana operation in Maryland and California. In 2012, investigators tapped Ryan's cell phone and identified Stahlnecker as an associate.

Prosecutors said Ryan later disappeared and his body was found in car truck in Montgomery County with two gunshot wounds to his head. Also found were a pound of marijuana and $1,000 in cash. Police searched a Laurel warehouse leased by Stahlnecker and found a shell casing blood near a loading dock, prosecutors said. The blood was identified as being from Ryan.

In February, a jury found Stahlnecker guilty of first-degree murder and use of a handgun in a felony.

—Staff Reports

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