A North Carolina man convicted on murder charges for fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend outside her Columbia apartment complex last year was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years in Howard County court Friday.

Ryan Patrick Matthias, 44, of Charlotte, N.C., was sentenced after being convicted of first- and second-degree murder, a felony gun charge and an assault charge in the homicide of Deborah Castellano, who was shot to death on May 4, 2013 outside her home in Verona Apartments in the 9600 block of Basket Ring Road.

Matthias was found guilty of the charges on May 15 after an eight-day trial in Howard County Circuit Court. On Friday, he was sentenced to life for the murder charges and received a 20-year sentence, to be served consecutively, for the felony gun charge. 

Castellano, 47, had moved to Columbia from New York state in March 2013, just one month after the couple separated, to “get a fresh start” working at Maryland Live! Casino, according to prosecutors.


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She was found with three gunshot wounds in her car, which was parked in front of her apartment, by a neighbor at approximately 9 a.m. on May 4, 2013. Howard County police identified Matthias early on as the primary suspect, and he was arrested on May 11, 2013, by local police in North Carolina.

At Friday's sentencing hearing, Castellano's daughter, Bianca, 22, and son, Michael, 19, told the court that Matthias took something from them that "can never be replaced," according to State's Attorney spokesman Wayne Kirwan.

Kirwan said Matthias did not express remorse in his address to the court, and he also said that he did not commit the crime.

Matthias told the court he will appeal the sentence, Kirwan said.