BRYAN — A jury was seated here in the murder trial of a Michigan man this week, but before testimony could begin Tuesday he entered a plea to a related charge.
Ryan Dangerfield, 40, Reading, Mich., pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, a lesser included offense of murder, an unclassified felony.
Sentencing was scheduled for 11 a.m. on Oct. 22 in Williams County Common Pleas Court.
Dangerfield, who is being held in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio on a $2 million bond, could be sentenced to a maximum prison term of 11 to 16 1/2 years, according to Williams County prosecutor Katie Zartman.
Dangerfield had been charged by Bryan police following the stabbing death of Dylan Bible of Bryan at the Colonial Manor Hotel, 924 W. High St. on June 23, 2019. The incident occurred during an altercation between the two men, with Bible dying of a single stab wound to the heart, according to Zartman.
Dangerfield was arrested the next day in Reading, Mich., a small community in Hillsdale County, approximately 10 miles north of the Ohio-Michigan border.
He had indicted by a Williams County grand jury on two counts of murder — each alleging different sections of the Ohio Revised Code — as well as two counts of felonious assault, each a second-degree felony; and carrying a concealed weapon, a fourth-degree felony.
A jury had been seated in the case, with opening statements about to begin Tuesday morning, according to Zartman, but the jurors were dismissed when a plea agreement between the prosecutor’s office and defense attorney Clayton Gerbitz of Swanton was reached.
“It was a very difficult case,” Zartman told The Crescent-News. “We had concerns about whether or not the jury would find self-defense, so we feel the voluntary manslaughter is an appropriate resolution. We think that it provides justice for the victim and believe it was the right thing to do for the case.”
Zartman credited her assistant prosecutor, Stacey Stiriz, who would have tried the case. She said Stiriz worked on the case for “hundreds of hours” in preparing for it, calling her a “phenomenal attorney.”
And Zartman complimented Bryan police, specifically Det. Tracy Williamson, as well as “everyone else that helped in the case,” including Michigan police.
An attempt to contact Gerbitz Tuesday for comment was unsuccessful.