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Ryan Lawrence charged with first-degree murder of Maddox Lawrence, denied bail

Tom Magnarelli

Ryan Lawrence, the Syracuse man accused of murdering his 21-month-old daughter Maddox Lawrence last month, was denied bail at his arraignment Wednesday after being indicted on first-degree murder and kidnapping charges. 

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick was pleased with the judge’s decision to deny Ryan Lawrence bail.  

“Regarding his character, the available evidence of guilt and the fact that when he was apprehended he was in the process of fleeing the jurisdiction in disguise made him a good candidate to be remanded and fortunately the judge agreed,” Fitzpatrick said.

Ryan Lawrence pleaded not guilty to the charges. A competency exam determined that he is able to stand trial.

Defense attorney Michael Vavonese said they still have the option of utilizing a defense of mental disease or defect, or extreme emotional disturbance, which could reduce the charges.

“We’re going to challenge each and every element of that murder-1 charge,” Vavonese said.

Vavonese also questioned if Lawrence could receive a fair trial in Onondaga County.

Credit Syracuse Police Department
Ryan Lawrence is accused of killing his 21-month-old daughter, Maddox Lawrence

  “That’s certainly one issue that we’ll be looking at in the days and weeks to come, with the type of publicity this case has garnered whether or not we could get a fair jury here in town,” Vavonese said.

The defense had Ryan Lawrence examined by a psychiatrist and the judge signed an order allowing the district attorney’s office to have a psychiatrist examine Lawrence as well.

Fitzpatrick said if the defense is successful it could mean a reduction in charges.

“Extreme emotional disturbance, which would reduce the charge to manslaughter or it could be insanity which if successful means he would be found not guilty and transferred to a mental institution,” Fitzpatrick said.

The Onondaga County indictment describes in gruesome detail what the prosecution said happened to Maddox Lawrence. Ryan Lawrence is accused of taking the young girl to Cortland County where he killed her and burned her body and the murder weapon. The indictment said he then disposed portions of her remains in Onondaga Creek. If convicted, Ryan Lawrence can face life imprisonment without parole. 

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.