Sentencing postponed for retired Arizona prisons boss who pleaded no-contest in armed standoff

Jan 11, 2024, 6:00 PM

Arizona prisons chief Charles Ryan court case update...

Retired Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan pauses in the courtroom after pleading no contest to a disorderly conduct charge in a plea agreement at Maricopa County Superior Court, Nov. 14, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, File)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — Sentencing was postponed Thursday for former Arizona prisons chief Charles Ryan on his no-contest plea to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from a 2022 armed standoff at his Tempe home.

The postponement occurred because Ryan’s lawyer requested a separate hearing to present evidence favorable to his client. It’s unclear whether Ryan will be sentenced after the Feb. 9 mitigation hearing or whether the punishment will be imposed later.

Police say Ryan fired a gun inside his home and pointed a firearm at two officers during the three-hour standoff. Outside of court Thursday, Ryan declined to comment to reporters.

What the Arizona prisons chief is facing in court

The plea agreement for Ryan, who retired as corrections director in September 2019, calls for a sentence of probation and an $8,500 payment to cover the Tempe Police Department’s costs in conducting the investigation. The offense carries a maximum sentence of up to two years in prison.

Police were called to Ryan’s house Jan. 6, 2022, on a report that he had shot himself in the hand. Police later revealed that the hand injury was caused by a less-than-lethal projectile fired by police after Ryan pointed a handgun at officers. They say the projectile was found during surgery.

Ryan also was injured when he fired his gun before police arrived. He apparently suffered a cut to the forehead after a bullet hit a bathroom sink and sent a splinter of porcelain flying.

Police reports say Ryan had consumed half a bottle of tequila before officers arrived at his property. Police say he slurred his words, was antagonistic toward a negotiator and did not know why officers were there or what had happened to his injured hand.

Ryan told police he didn’t remember pointing a gun at officers. He acknowledged drinking tequila that evening, though he said he had just two shots.

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Sentencing postponed for retired Arizona prisons boss who pleaded no-contest in armed standoff