COLLIER DEAL: Family Says Sentence Is Fair
The former Marine that caused multiple school lockdowns now knows his punishment after agreeing to a plea deal.
In October, Ryan Collier made a threat to shoot his girlfriend inside a Merrill Middle School where she was picking up her child. Collier took off leading the district to lockdown five schools and sparking a two hour long manhunt.
On Wednesday, he admitted to his crime and the judge showed no mercy. Collier pleaded guilty to harassment, interference with official acts and domestic assault in court.
“On the day in question I followed her into the school after she stopped answering her phone and threatened to shoot her,” Collier told the judge.
The prosecution argued for the maximum prison time allowed.
“We need to make sure that we adequately protect the public from any future offenses and it’s the state’s position that incarceration is the one way to protect the public from this defendant,” Polk County assistant attorney Shannon Archer said.
Collier’s attorney says what his client did at the middle school was wrong. But, he says his client would have been better off getting mental health care than going to prison.
He says collier, an honorably discharged Marine, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and the veterans hospital is willing to accept him for a two month in-patient treatment program as an alternative to prison time.
“While he was serving in the Marine Corps on active duty Mr. Collier witnessed a training exercise involving a grenade launcher which several of his fellow marines were killed,” defense attorney Robb Goedicke said.
But, considering Collier’s past arrests on drug and drunk driving charges, the judge didn’t buy it and sentenced Collier to the maximum of two years in prison for the harassment charge and 30-days for each of the lesser charges, minus time served.
“My duty is to protect your rights as well as to protect the public. The actions in this case which you undertook are very, very serious,” Polk County district court judge James Birkenholz said.
Collier’s family believes the sentence is fair.
“I’m glad the way it came out. I mean, two years is better than 10 years. I see with the high publicity, I knew he couldn’t just get out without anything. But he’ll get the help he needs now,” uncle Michael Ritchie said.
As part of a plea deal, charges of endangering the welfare of a child were dropped against Collier.
Collier is a well-known local R&B singer who has performed at the 80/35 music festival and in 2007 won first place at an Iowa Variety Children’s Charity competition.