BREAKING: Jury returns verdict this evening on Ryan Place on all counts of the indictment. Top count of Kidnapping 2nd carries a maximum sentence of 10-25 years in prison. Victim relieved the ordeal is over.
Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III announced today that a jury has returned a verdict of guilty on all counts of the indictment on Ryan Place (DOB 7-25-85) of 309 Greenfield Avenue, Milton, NY.
The jury found him guilty at 5:00 PM including Kidnapping 2nd and numerous counts of Aggravated Harassment and other offenses. The crime occurred on July 21, 2013 in the Town of Saratoga in a wooded area near Saratoga Lake. Place dragged his victim, a female woman known to him into the woods by her hair, beat her repeatedly and made her dig a shallow grave with her bare hands. He threatened to kill her and leave her for dead. Over the course of the kidnapping, he also forcibly took her near a small pond where he threatened to drown her telling her that is where her dead body would be found by authorities in the days ahead. The Aggravated Harassment charges stem from Place calling the victim from the Saratoga County Jail in violation of an order of protection.
The trial, where the prosecution called 17 witnesses, including the victim, lasted 7 days and the jury deliberated for roughly 1 and a half days, returning a verdict this evening. The Saratoga County Sheriff's Department conducted the Investigation and numerous personnel from the Department were called as witnesses.
Murphy praised the work of Sheriff Michael Zurlo and the men and women of his Department for their work in this difficult case, particularly in identifying the scene of the crime which was in a densely wooded area and challenging to locate and secure evidence from.
The defendant faces a potential sentence of a range of from 10 to 25 years in whole or half years as the Kidnapping is a B violent felony offense.
Murphy said "I am so proud of the victim who got up on the stand, looked the defendant in the eye and told her story truthfully and with confidence. Assistant DA Kristin Foust, who tried the case, enabled the victim to tell the jury this harrowing tale in a safe environment, which ultimately brought Mr. Place to justice."
Commenting on the domestic violence aspect of the case, Murphy said,
"This is a classic case of domestic violence. He slowly exerted control over until his grip on her became so tight that he literally controlled every aspect of her life. I am just thankful she is not the victim of a homicide and lying dead in that shallow grave he had her dig and that she is alive and well to testify against him."
Sentencing is scheduled for August 11, 2014 at 1:15 PM.