ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP/WJZ) — A jury in Annapolis has convicted a Crofton businessman of first-degree murder in the shooting death of his associate in an alleged coast-to-coast marijuana trafficking operation.
The Frederick News-Post reports that a jury convicted Michael Stahlnecker, 51, Wednesday after a three-week trial. Sentencing is set for May 6.
Prosecutors say Stahlnecker shot John Ryan, 37, of Frederick in the head and left his body in the trunk of Ryan’s Lexus in Derwood in December 2012.
“John Patrick Ryan’s murder was senseless,” said State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess. “It was for greed – over a petty disagreement. His murder has devastated so many families, and left behind a 30-year-old wife and two young children.”
Stahlnecker owned Computer Power Cabling Corp. and Levitating Sports. Prosecutors produced evidence the men moved marijuana from California to Maryland by hiding it in shipments of electrical generators.
Three days after Ryan’s wife reported him missing, police served a search warrant at Stahlnecker’s warehouse, where they located a spent shell casing and what was determined to be Ryan’s blood near the rear loading dock of the business. The blood appeared to have been sprayed down in an attempt to clean it up. A broom also was located, which contained Ryan’s blood.
Ryan’s car was located the following day in Montgomery County. His body was found in the trunk. He had been shot twice in the head. His cell phone, wallet and a floor mat of the vehicle were missing. A pound of marijuana and $1,000 in cash was found next to Ryan’s body.
Prosecutors say Stahlnecker killed Ryan for personal and financial reasons.
Defense attorney Steven Wrobel says the state’s case was based solely on circumstantial evidence.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)