Prosecutors have painted the man accused in the fatal shooting of a Columbia woman last May as a jilted lover who carried out the killing in cold blood after learning the victim was seeing other people.
Ryan Patrick Matthias, 44, of Charlotte, N.C. stands trial on first- and second-degree murder charges in connection with the fatal shooting of Deborah Castellano, 47, of the 9600 block of Basket Ring Road in Columbia. Castellano was found dead in her car outside her home in the Verona Apartments in east Columbia on May 4, 2013 by a neighbor.
Castellano had moved to Columbia from New York state months earlier to begin working at Maryland Live! Casino. Matthias had dated Castellano when they lived in New York.
Retracing five days of testimony in Howard County Circuit Court, prosecutors from the Howard County State's Attorney's Office said that an enraged Matthias traveled over 400 miles to the area after discovering Castellno was seeing other men, shot her three times and then tried to cover his tracks.
The jury deliberated for an hour and 15 minutes with no decision before being dismissed for the day. Deliberations will continue on Thursday.
"All the evidence points in all but one direction," Assistant State's Attorney Maurice Frazier said Wednesday as he pointed to Matthias seated in the court room.
The defense argued that the prosecution had not met its burden of proof, specifically citing a lack of DNA evidence and the murder weapon, which was never found.
"You can't find somebody guilty based on speculation," said defense attorney Debra Michael from the office of the public defender.
Michael said that Castellano had been dating multiple people during the time of her death and "led a risky life."
Assistant State's Attorney Ned Curry countered, "She dated other guys, it doesn't mean they killed her."
Frazier repeated testimony delivered last week by Michelle Peterson, an acquaintance of Matthias who said Matthias called her days after the murder and asked her to provide an alibi for May 4 and May 5. Frazier also referred to a recorded conversation between Matthias and his mother during which Matthias, from jail, prayed for forgiveness.
"Why are you telling so many lies to so many people?" Frazier said Wednesday.
Matthias was identified as a suspect shortly after Castellano's death. Using bank, rental car and cellphone records, police were able to compile enough evidence to determine that Matthias could have traveled to Columbia to carry out the killing.