Judge rejects Craig Titus’ request for sentence reduction

District Judge Jackie Glass shot down a request for a reduced sentence from convicted killer and former professional body-builder Craig Titus.

At a Thursday hearing, she also refused to allow Titus — who previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for his involvement in the death of his personal assistant — to go to trial.

Glass based her decisions, in part, on Titus’ awareness that she had the discretion to sentence him to 17 years or more after his guilty plea. In August, Glass sentenced Titus to 21 to 55 years in prison.

Titus’ attorney Marc Saggese claimed Glass told him Titus would be eligible for parole after serving 17 years. Saggese said Titus wouldn’t have agreed to plead guilty if he’d known he would be sentenced to 21 years. On Thursday, Saggese said he recommended Titus plead guilty to second-degree murder because he believed Glass agreed to sentence his client to 17 years.

"As an attorney and as someone who would give you advice in this situation, my recommendation is you accept the guilty plea as it is in relation to 17 years," he said, summarizing what he told Titus at the time.

Saggese acknowledged that Glass didn’t guarantee that Titus would be sentenced to 17 years. Judges aren’t bound by plea agreements and can give whatever sentence they deem appropriate.

Titus is currently serving his sentence at Ely State Prison, Nevada’s only maximum security prison. Titus heard Thursday’s court proceedings via telephone from the prison.

Glass said she wasn’t part of Titus’ plea negotiations. She also said she questioned Titus about his plea agreement and he replied that he understood the plea agreement and that no promises were made to him.

Titus and his wife, Kelly Ryan, were accused of beating and killing Melissa James, their 28-year-old personal assistant in 2005. They left her body in a torched Jaguar.

Ryan pleaded guilty to arson and battery with a deadly weapon causing substantial bodily harm. Glass sentenced her to spend 26 years behind bars with the possibility of parole after six years.

Contact reporter David Kihara at or 702-380-1039.


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