Maryland dentist accused of giving medications and IVs to girlfriend on demo


Tina Harris knocked on the front door, a terrified mom checking on her daughter.

Sarah answered. The 24-calendar year-old previous magnificence queen was an emaciated, unkempt shell of herself. Tina Harris questioned her daughter to display her forearms.

“No, mama,” her daughter pleaded.

“I grabbed her arm,” Harris advised a jury, “and I pulled at the sleeves. And her tiny arms were being protected in needle marks and bruises.”

Tina Harris recalled the occasions in the course of testimony very last 7 days in a demo in Montgomery County, Md., that turns on a complex problem jurors will try to respond to in the days and possibly months ahead.

Was Sarah Harris, who a few months soon after her mother’s take a look at died of a drug overdose, murdered? Or was her demise in 2022 not legal, but the outcome of a suicide or accident?

The case centers on James Ryan, Sarah Harris’s boyfriend, who is accused of killing her by introducing her to professional medical-grade medicine from his oral medical procedures apply and placing up an IV drip procedure in their residence. Prosecutors argue that even if Ryan did not deliver the lethal dose himself, he must be discovered responsible of “depraved heart” murder by creating problems in his household that he knew have been fatal.

Dentist billed with murder in anesthesia dependancy scenario heads to trial

The 50-calendar year-aged seems to have swiped bottles of ketamine, propofol and midazolam from his observe. In the trial that started Wednesday, prosecutors assert Ryan continued to deliver the medicines to Harris for months even as she spiraled into worsening dependancy and health and fitness. Prosecutors performed a law enforcement system-digital camera recording of Ryan talking to officers the morning of Jan. 26, 2022, when Sarah Harris, 25 at the time, was found dead in their dwelling space. Ryan can be read on the online video inserting duty on his girlfriend.

Immediately after Ryan’s arrest was designed general public final yr, much awareness targeted on the dentist.

“Can you convey to us about Sarah? What was she like?” Assistant State’s Legal professional Kimberly Cissel began in questioning Tina Harris.

“Sarah was a brilliant star,” she reported. “Sarah was complete of life. She was ambitious. She was talented. She was clever as a whip.”

One of 4 little ones, Sarah Harris acquired A’s and B’s in faculty as she struggled with mental health and fitness problems in her mid-teens. She graduated from Quince Orchard Substantial College in the Gaithersburg location, her mother said, and earned a scholarship to Montgomery Higher education.

Sarah also participated in magnificence contests for Skip Maryland and Overlook Maryland Petite, which she gained in 2020, her mother informed jurors. That same year Sarah Harris took a position at Ryan’s dental exercise, Evolution Oral Surgical treatment, in Germantown. The two commenced dating and Sarah inevitably moved in with Ryan.

“We welcomed him into the spouse and children,” Tina Harris testified, incorporating that she and Ryan communicated each day and grew near. “That’s why this is even harder for me.”

An oral surgeon ‘fed’ his girlfriend’s addictions with anesthesia and an IV pole, police say.

By the slide of 2021, according to testimony from former co-employees, Harris’s efficiency at get the job done pale as her excess weight saved dropping. “In her eyes, it was just absent,” 1 of them claimed from the witness stand Friday. “She just appeared damaged.”

Tina Harris also testified about changes she saw. The normally crystal clear complexion of her daughter’s confront gave way to dense acne breakouts. On a family journey to Orlando with Ryan, she erupted in a burst of anger and did not want to go to the pool.

“It was quite very hot and she experienced extensive sleeves on, which I assumed was bizarre,” Tina Harris testified.

Sarah Harris give up likely to function. “All she preferred to do was snooze,” her mom explained to jurors. “She just seemed incredibly unhappy all the time, depressed.”

On Oct. 28, her mom testified, she arrived at Sarah on the telephone and read this sort of a stupor in her voice that she drove in excess of to Ryan’s dwelling, fulfilled an additional daughter there, and went inside of.

“I noticed hundreds of professional medical bottles that experienced contained medicine,” Tina Harris testified. “I observed IV baggage lying all more than the floor. I observed needles all about the floor, I observed blood, blood prints of toes on the ground, paper towels saturated in blood.”

Tina Harris said she waited for Ryan to arrive home. He insisted that he’d been hoping to hydrate Sarah Harris and give her sleeping medication, and it had been complicated to locate a acceptable vein.

Tina Harris testified that she feared what contacting the police would do to Ryan’s observe and his workers. Nor did she want to just take her daughter to the hospital, she claimed, fearing the younger lady would be fully commited.

Instead, Harris claimed she took her daughter household for a 7 days before her daughter’s return. A thirty day period later on, Tina Harris claimed, a relative identified as from Ryan’s house. “It was worse,” Harris reported.

Then arrived the morning of Jan. 1. Sarah’s brother Christopher, who lived in Montana, experienced a coronary heart attack. “The physicians explained to us that he wasn’t heading to make it,” Tina Harris mentioned.

Tina Harris flew out to see him that working day with Sarah and other loved ones users. Christopher, 38, died eight days afterwards.

As heartbreaking as it was to Sarah Harris, the grief was also a crucial part in trying to understand how she died, argued Thomas DeGonia, a single of Ryan’s lawyers.

“She sunk even more and further more into melancholy,” he informed the jury.

DeGonia also submitted as feasible evidence a Fb post Sarah Harris wrote about her brother on Jan. 24, 2022, two days just before her demise. “My coronary heart is really shattered, there are no words,” she wrote. “Never goodbye, I’ll see you shortly major bro.” It is unclear but no matter whether the put up will be admitted as evidence or no matter if jurors will be allowed to take into account it.

That exact working day and the next, Sarah Harris, her mom and other family customers frequented cemeteries wanting for an acceptable spot for her brother.

“We found a plot,” Tina Harris told jurors, “a family members estate plot that I seriously favored and Sarah seriously liked.”

Sarah Harris also explained the internet site in a text messages prepared to Ryan at his office.

“We picked a plot at a cemetery in Rockville appropriate by a stream,” she wrote. “It’s actually wonderful.”

Sarah Harris also texted Ryan to check with him to bring household ketamine and a needle, which he agreed to do. The dentist went to mattress about 10:30 that night, he later explained to police, adding that Sarah Harris remained downstairs and appeared alright. In the early morning, he identified her unresponsive and called 911.

DeGonia explained to jurors that to convict Ryan of wicked coronary heart murder, prosecutors ought to clearly show that Ryan held “an excessive indifference” to the youthful woman’s everyday living. But the couple cared deeply for each and every other, the attorney mentioned.

“These two flawed individuals’ lives grew to become entangled, unquestionably,” DeGonia said. “And in his individual, misguided way, James tried using to aid Sarah. And Sarah continued to struggle with melancholy, panic and decline in her very own loved ones.”

The legal professional played Ryan’s 911 contact, hoping jurors could hear deep anguish in his voice. “She’s not respiration,” Ryan claimed on the recording by means of high-pitched cries.

Prosecutors countered that Ryan’s recklessness advised a diverse tale — and how the safeguards he took with his people at his office nevertheless surgical assistants, healthcare monitoring and nearby unexpected emergency care equipment had been tossed out at household.

“When it arrived to Sarah Harris,” Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Harrison claimed, “he left her unmonitored. Frequently he would go away her and go to rest for the night, leaving her hooked up to an IV on these hazardous prescription drugs.”

And when he spoke to responding officers, Ryan appeared to duck duty for the periods he brought residence medicine for Harris.

“She experimented with to be key about it,” Ryan advised Officer James Baker, according to overall body-cam video performed in court docket.

“She requires ketamine,” Ryan also claimed. “She employed to acquire propofol, way too. She employed to steal that from my office environment.”

Prosecutors also identified as as a witness the health-related examiner who done the autopsy. Ling Li testified that Sarah Harris was only 83 lbs . at her demise. Li said Harris died of merged ketamine, propofol and diazepam intoxication.

But Li said she couldn’t convey to from a purely forensic issue of perspective how the prescription drugs received within Harris. “There are three alternatives,” Li testified.

“A possibility of a suicide, risk of accidental dying, or even a murder.”


An previously model of this write-up incorrectly claimed that Quince Orchard Higher Faculty is in Germantown. It is in the Gaithersburg spot. The posting has been corrected.

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