An Anne Arundel County man embroiled in a cross-country marijuana investigation was convicted Wednesday for murdering his associate, a Frederick businessman whose body was found in the trunk of his car near Gaithersburg.
Michael A. Stahlnecker, 52, of Crofton, was found guilty of first-degree murder and a weapons charge. He was acquitted of lesser charges of theft, robbery and armed robbery.
In December 2012, Maryland State Police found John P. Ryan’s body in the trunk of a 2007 Lexus with a pound of marijuana and $1,000 in cash.
The car was parked in a lot in the 15000 block of Somerville Drive. Ryan’s cell phone was missing and a floor mat were gone, according to the Anne Arundel State’s Attorney’s Office.
Ryan had been shot twice in the head, leaving behind a wife and two children.
State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess argued that Stahlnecker killed Ryan out of greed.
Before the killing, a narcotics task force in Frederick had been investigating Ryan and Stahlnecker for their alleged involvement with a marijuana operation that spanned from Maryland to California.
Leitess argued that Ryan was making lots of money through the operation, while Stahlnecker was in debt, owing money to Ryan for drugs.
Stahlnecker wanted to take over the operation so he could reap the large profit, Leitess argued. The men had a falling out before the killing, Stone said, citing witness accounts.
Stahlnecker was arrested February 2013 in New York.
He’s scheduled for sentencing May 6 in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.
“We’re seeking life without parole,” Stone said.
Stahlnecker’s attorneys, Gerard P. Martin and Steven F. Wrobel, the attorneys representing Stahlnecker, were not available for comment Friday.