Deliberations to resume Friday in Silliman murder trial

Prosecutor Jason Waller
September 22, 2010 9:00:00 PM PDT
Prosecutor Jason Waller called Ryan Hare "a master manipulator" Thursday as he made his closing arguments before a Wake County jury.

Hare, 19, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Matthew Silliman.

Police have implicated three other teens in the murder: Aadil Shaaid Kahn, 18, Allegra Rose Dahlquist, 19, and Drew Logan Shaw, 18.

Hare is accused of being the mastermind behind the plot that ended with Silliman's death. Prosecutors say he was angry about a relationship between Silliman and Dahlquist - who was his girlfriend.

Waller said Thursday that Hare convinced his friends to take part in the killing.

"He was a master manipulator. He wanted this done. He preyed on the weaknesses of others," said Waller.

Sheriff's investigators found Silliman's body on the bathroom floor of an empty mobile home near New Hill in southwestern Wake County on December 3, 2008. According to the medical examiner, the Eagle Scout was drugged and suffocated.

The prosecution wants a conviction of first-degree murder. To get that, it has to prove the murder was planned ahead of time.

Waller said there is ample evidence of that and pointed to the fact that the teens wore gloves, brought items used in the killing with them, and plotted how to get Silliman alone on the property where he was found dead.

"They thought about it beforehand," said Waller.

The defense presented no witnesses in the trial.

In his closing arguments, defense attorney Robert Padovano questioned the state's theory that Hare was the mastermind.

He pointed to the fact that the other three teens allegedly involved were all offered plea deals.

"Three of those teens were offered a platform to come in and blame everything on Ryan Hare," said Padovano.

Padovano said Silliman died at Dahlquist's house taking medication prescribed for her family and her horse. He said Kahn put duct tape over Silliman's mouth, and Dahlquist put the bag over his head and put a zip tie around his neck.

"But somehow the state deems Hare to be the most culpable," said Padovano.

Padovano also said Dahlquist had motivation to kill Silliman because he was not faithful to her.

"I think it was more likely that Ryan was under her spell than vice versa," said Padovano.

He said Kahn had motivation because he was jealous of Silliman's relationship with another girl.

Padovano also catalogued Silliman's past suicide attempt and his history of depression and bipolar disorder - saying he was suicidal the day he died.

Waller attacked the defense theory that Hare simply helped Silliman commit suicide - calling it "absurd."

"There is no legal basis in North Carolina for assisted suicide to be a defense. Doctors can't do it," said Waller. "And, sure enough, Ryan Hare can't do it to his friend."

"I know that it is not a recognized defense in North Carolina but, at the same time, it is not an enumerated crime in North Carolina. What it is being offered as is either a mitigator or an enhancer," said Padovano in his closing.

Jurors began their deliberations around 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Around 3:30 p.m. the judge thought the jury reached a verdict, but instead they asked for a break. After only deliberating a few hours, it was decided the trial would resume on Friday morning.

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