The Loudoun Courts handled several murder trials during 2019, including a 31-year-old cold case that resulted in a conviction.
Three decades after Henry E. “Ricky” Ryan’s body was found on the Blue Ridge near the Loudoun County border west of Hillsboro, Timothy William Warnick was convicted of killing him. The case had been investigated several times over the years, but it was the first time prosecutors had filed charges.
During a week-long trial in April, prosecutors presented evidence that Warnick, 60, was one of the last people seen with Ryan the night of his death. Amid a night of partying near the Shenandoah River in West Virginia, the two went on a beer run with a third, unknown man. Warnick’s son and ex-girlfriend testified that Warnick had confessed to them that he had killed Ryan. A pill bottle with Warnick’s name was found in Ryan’s hand when his body was recovered by Loudoun County Sheriff’s deputies in 1989.
Warnick continues to deny responsibility for Ryan’s death. The case is under review by the Virginia Court of Appeals.
In May, Michael Bowles, 22, was given two life sentences for first-degree murder and arson after fatally shooting his father, 52-year-old Mario Bowles, with a sawed-off shotgun in the face, chest and back and then burning his parents’ Lucketts-area home down on July 25, 2017.
In July, Michael Moreno, 59, was sentenced to 38 years in prison for driving his car into his sister, 54-year-old Nancy, on the side of Rt. 28 and killing her on July 21, 2018. He received 33 years for first-degree murder and five years for leaving the scene of an accident causing a death.
In August, a U.S. Army combat veteran was convicted on two counts of attempted capital murder, stemming from a Christmas Eve 2017 shooting of Loudoun deputies who responded to a domestic dispute call at his Sterling home. Douglas Johnson, 41, was sentenced to 74 years in prison—40 years for two counts of attempted capital murder; 10 years for two counts of malicious wounding; 18 years for two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of attempted capital murder and two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of malicious wounding; and six years for three counts of maliciously discharging a firearm within an occupied building. Johnson claimed that he was attempting to take his own life when deputies jumped on him, causing the handgun to fire. Three rounds were discharged in the altercation.
Another man who faced an attempted capital murder charges of shooting at deputies will not be going to trial. Hyeong J. Suh, 29, of Reston was arrested following a Jan. 17 incident in Paeonian Springs where deputies responded to a report of an armed man firing weapons. Suh fired on deputies before locking himself in a shed on the property. Following months of psychiatric examinations, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity in November.
In March, the Circuit Court is preparing for a month-long trial for Bryan Kuang-Ming Welsh, who faces two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony in the Jan. 31, 2018 shooting deaths of Mala Manwani and her adult son, Rishi Manwani at their home in Aldie. Initially, Welsh was charged with murder in the case in March 2018. But he was released that August just before a preliminary hearing in Loudoun District Court. At that time, prosecutors dropped the charges after a ballistics report showed that nine bullets found at the crime scene did not match the gun found in Welsh’s possession.