• David Farrar was shot to death at his home in Mount Holly on March 20, 2007. He was 66.
• Money, collectibles, coins and other items were taken from Farrar’s house. These included commemorative stamps of boxer Joe Louis and baseball players Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson.
• In March 2007, Ryan was in the process of moving from New Jersey to North Carolina with his daughter, then age 12.
• The prosecution contends that Ryan and another man, Wes Adair, committed the crime. The state’s case alleges they attempted to blackmail Farrar with photos of him with young women and then threatened Farrar with a baseball bat and robbed him.
The prosecution case says Farrar reached toward his pocket where he kept his gun, and Ryan reached in, took the gun, shot Farrar multiple times and made Adair shoot his body.
• The defense team says Ryan had nothing to do with the crime. It contends that Ryan was across town with his daughter to enroll her in middle school.

In exchange for his testimony, Adair pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is serving a sentence of up to 16 years, five months. He is projected to get out of prison in April 2021. Assistant Attorney General Mary Carla Babb said there was plenty of evidence to convict Ryan. This includes Adair’s testimony that he and Ryan went to Farrar’s house to blackmail him, and they then shot Farrar and stole his property, she said. The state’s case also includes a woman’s testimony that Ryan confessed the murder to her, plus other information and findings to corroborate the state’s version of the events. A key piece of evidence that the prosecution and defense are arguing over are a shirt that the prosecution says belonged to Ryan. It had a skull-and-crossbones logo and the phrase “I am a sick boy” written on it, according to Babb’s filing. It was found in a street and had Farrar’s stolen stamps in it. Defense lawyers William Massengale and Marilyn Ozer argued in their brief and to the court that the prosecution witnesses had been involved in drug sales and were unreliable. They say Ryan’s lawyers severely erred by failing to put Ryan’s daughter on the stand to testify at the second trial that she was with him at the middle school and then on a roadside with Ryan when his truck broke down near the school. They say Ryan’s lawyers failed to get cell phone records of a call between the daughter and Ryan’s fiancee when the truck was broken down. Cell phone records can show a person’s location at a specific time. A brief says one of the lawyers said later he thought the jury at the first trial didn’t believe the daughter’s testimony, so he did not use her at the second trial. The prosecution presented misleading DNA evidence from the stamps to the jury, Massengale and Ozer said. DNA testing could not determine if Ryan’s DNA was on the stolen stamps that were found in the shirt on the road, they said. However, the prosecution presented a confusing chart about the DNA results that would mislead a layperson into thinking that Ryan’s DNA was on the Joe Louis stamps, they said. Massengale and Ozer said Ryan’s lawyers failed to get a DNA expert to counter the DNA chart and failed effectively to cross-examine the state’s DNA expert. Further, one of the lawyers acknowledged he had not studied DNA since high school in the 1980s, they said. Babb argued that DNA evidence was not central to the case, that there was overwhelming evidence to convict Ryan without it. Further, she said, “exclusion does not mean someone doesn’t touch an object.” Many factors could affect DNA evidence, such as the environmental — they were outside — and how many times the object is handled."

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