Germantown dentist found guilty in overdose death of girlfriend

Germantown dentist Dr. James Ryan has been found guilty of murdering his girlfriend and employee, Sarah Harris. 

The Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office said the jury deliberated for less than three hours Friday following the two-week trial. 

Harris, 25, died from an overdose in January 2022. She was found unconscious in the home she and Ryan were renting in Clarksburg.

Dr. Ling Ali from Maryland’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Harris’s cause of death was ketamine and diazepam intoxication. 

Messages used as evidence in the trial show Ryan offering to provide Harris with IV drips of drugs that he had access to from his dental practice.

According to court documents, Ryan said he went to bed on the night of Harris’ death while she stayed downstairs. 

He said the next day, he frantically called 911 after waking up and going back downstairs where he found Harris unresponsive on the couch with hypodermic needles and vials of controlled dangerous substances near her. 

Harris’ family testified they were worried about her in the weeks leading up to her death after she started wearing long sleeves to cover up evidence of using drugs. 

Ryan could face up to 55 years in prison for the second-degree depraved heart murder and involuntary manslaughter charges. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date.