Kelly Ryan and Craig Titus pleaded guilty on Friday to the 2005 murder of their personal assistant, Melissa James. Read more about it and see photos and a video below.
Kelly Ryan and husband Craig Titus entered guilty pleas in connection with the December 2005 murder of their personal assistant in December 2005. The former bodybuilders were scheduled to go to trial for the murder next week.
Titus pleaded guilty late Friday to second-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and arson in the death of 28-year-old Melissa James.
James’ body was found in a torched luxury sedan in the desert outside Las Vegas in December 2005.
Ryan pleaded guilty to arson and battery with a deadly weapon with significant bodily harm.
The District Attorney’s office has stated that it is their contention that 43-year-old Craig Titus was responsible for Melissa James’ death and that 35-year-old Kelly Ryan was involved in helping to cover up the crime. Their sentencing has been set for July 18th. Titus is facing 15 to 55 years in prison. Ryan is facing anywhere from probation to 15 years in prison. Her plea was an ‘Alford plea’, which means she didn’t admit guilt but acknowledged there is enough evidence to convict her.
Craig Titus was a bodybuilding champion in 1996 and competed for Mr. Olympia. Kelly Ryan was also a bodybuilder and is a past winner of Fitness America and Fitness International. They initially hired James to assist them in a fitness clothing business they were planning to start. She was a live-in assistant, but they told the police that they evicted her when they found she was embezzling from them. Titus admitted to having had an affair with James and denies that Ryan knew about the affair. The couple admit to steroid use.
The couple initially told police that James had been using drugs and overdosed. They claimed they had panicked when they found her dead and feared the death would hurt their careers so they burned her body in their car and left town. They were arrested on December 23, 2005 in Massachusetts.
The cause of death was ‘undetermined’ but prosecutors accuse them of having used a stun gun and then administering narcotics to incapacitate her. They are accused of then strangling her to death and disposing of her body by burning it in the trunk of their car.