over the knee uggs Crofton veteran suffering from PTSD pleads guilty in murder of girlfriend
An Iraq War veteran suffering from post traumatic stress disorder pleaded guilty Tuesday to stabbing his girlfriend to death in Crofton last year.
Ryan Hollebon, 39, was charged with first degree murder in the death of Jhalandia Butler, 28, after he stabbed her more than 50 times inside their home in March.
Standing in a green jumpsuit and a white, long sleeved undershirt, Hollebon slunk his head forward and only spoke to answer questions about court procedures as his attorney, Andrew Cochran, entered the Alford plea to the murder charge in Circuit Court.
While the plea hearing itself was uneventful, it marked the end of an investigation into Butler’s murder that revealed Hollebon’s history of drug addiction, his struggles as a returning veteran and the difficulties of handling accusations of domestic violence. There, officers found a bloodied Butler, dead after being stabbed multiple times, Church said.
The two had been involved in an intense altercation, as blood was found in the kitchen and bathroom, with a crack in the sheet rock in the bathroom apparently caused by their fight, he said.
Church said Hollebon stabbed Butler during the fight, but that it had continued throughout the house as she continued to struggle.
He said Hollebon became aware of Butler’s deteriorating condition and “decided to put her out of her misery.” She was found dead with 57 stab and slash wounds, along with evidence of blunt force trauma.
Church added investigators found a bloody cellphone next to Butler’s body, adding it “looks like she attempted to use it at some point.”
Hollebon sat silently as Church described the murder while one woman left the courtroom as he spoke of the way she died.
The case came under scrutiny by State’s Attorney Wes Adams when it was revealed Hollebon had been charged with choking Butler and punching her in the stomach in December 2016, prior to her death.
Adams said last year Butler’s death “might have been prevented” had District Court Judge Thomas V. Miller III not released Hollebon on his own recognizance while facing an assault charge for the December incident.
However, Butler spoke on Hollebon’s behalf at his Dec. 5, 2016 bail review, saying she didn’t want to press charges.
In a recording of the hearing obtained by The Capital, Butler pleaded with the judge to allow him to be released, saying “I do want him to be able to come home today.”
“I had a misunderstanding and it did get too far, but he’s not that type of person and he wouldn’t normally do that type of thing,” she says in the recording.
A spokeswoman for the State’s Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
Butler also spoke of the two’s enrollment in treatment programs at the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Virginia. Butler also served in the military.
According to an evaluation of Hollebon by Dr. Neil Blumberg, a Timonium based psychiatrist, Hollebon was enrolled in an inpatient program at the center and was treated for substance abuse as well as mental health issues.
Butler said in December 2016 she was in an outpatient “on the other side of the hospital,” and that the two of them “wouldn’t have any type of contact with each other” if Hollebon was released.
Blumberg wrote the two were released from their treatment programs after they refused to end their relationship while on campus and that the two began to use heroin.
It was not the first time Hollebon was treated for drug addiction, as Blumberg wrote he’d abused Percocet, an opioid painkiller, as well as heroin and crack cocaine since returning from Iraq in 2004.
Blumberg wrote Hollebon attempted to kill himself a few months only after his return home and went through periods where he abused drugs.
At the trial, Hollebon said he suffered from PTSD and had taken antidepressants before the hearing, but said they did not affect his ability to understand the proceedings.
The plea, in which Hollebon maintained his innocence but admitted prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him, upset some in the courtroom.
A small group gathered behind the prosecutors, visibly upset as Cochran read over the details of the Alford plea.
Mason Tunning, 29, who identified himself as the father of Butler’s child, called the plea “disgusting.”
A high profile prosecutor recently tied to a controversial subpoena requesting private information from Annapolis public housing residents resigned this month from the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office.