Another Governor Martinez “bad boy”, Ryan committed burglary and extortion against a grieving mother and widow yet also received extensive resources from Martinez, Keith Gardner, and Jay McClesey to help in his race to defeat Joe Carraro.
Ryan’s victim, Ms. Leslie, had just lost her oldest son in an automobile accident less than a year before, and her husband to a heart attack just a few years earlier.
The extortion was carefully crafted by Ryan and his accomplices. They targetted a woman they saw as vulnerable and therefore easy prey. They did not just break in and steal just anything. They took framed oil portraits of Ms Leslie’s deceased husband and son with the intention of forcing her to pay to get them back.
The plan was to send Ms Leslie from phone booth to phone booth in order to receive instructions on where to deliver the money. Unfortunately for Ryan she went to the police who caught him on tape:
“We are in a position to do you much harm. We have the portraits and if you will buy them back from us for $15,000, we will return the portraits and will give you our word of honor that we will never bother your home, you, or your family again. If you do not cooperate with us, we will keep causing you trouble. Do not call the police, but if you already have called the police, do not tell them about this call. If you tell anyone, we will continue to cause you trouble and you will never be safe in your home again.”
Ms Leslie then received further instruction from Ryan through a pay phone, described here by the police:
“When Ms. Leslie answered it the male caller (who appeared to be the younger man who called earlier) told her that her family and business were insecure and they could do her much harm. The caller then said to get $15,000 in 50 dollar bills and 100 dollar bills that did not have consecutive serial numbers, and they would call her back at approximately 1830 hours.”
Ms. Leslie wrote in her statement that the extortionists “knew that I would pay for the oil portraits because they are of my deceased husband and son and they could not be replaced. ”
Ryan made several more calls to Ms Leslie, sending her to different pay phones each time, “when Ms. Leslie objected to running around from phone booth to phone booth like she had done the previous night, the caller hung up.”
Ryan claims that he accepted responsibility for his actions by turning himself in.
He fails to mention that he only did so after his two accomplices were captured and confessed, naming him as part of the plot.
He also fails to mention that he only surrendered to the police after his attorney had gotten a court order to keep him out of jail other than for the booking process.
“After Wilburn and Block were arrested and advised of their rights, they gave police a written statement as to how the burglary and extortion were planned and executed. Both stated that John Ryan had assisted in the burglary and the extortion.”
Ryan was also identified in a photo array by one of the victim’s children who had spotted him tailing her when she retrieved the oil paintings after making a partial-payment.
APD was able to get court orders compelling Ryan and his co-defendants to record the same phrases used during the recorded conversations with the victim in order to match the voices.
Caught dead to rights, Ryan was implicated by his two co-defendants, recorded in the act of extorting the victim, identified by a witness from a photo array—he was in a very real position of being convicted on both the extortion and burglary charges.
Instead, Ryan was offered a plea bargain offer he couldn’t refuse: Plead guilty to burglary in exchange for dropping the extortion charges and avoid any jail time.
Despite his felony criminal conviction, Ryan managed to get a job with New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici. He moved to DC and worked as a political operative for Domenici and later New Mexico Representative Joe Skeen.
Ryan’s heavy political connections got him a pardon signed by Republican Governor Gary Johnson. Thanks to friends in high places, he just walked away from responsibility for his crimes.
John Ryan’s role in targeting a widow who had recently lost her oldest son cannot be brushed aside as a “youthful mistake”. His actions of mistreating a woman who had already been through enough hardships show his true lack of character and inability to care for others.
Yet Martinez stands by her man, despite the facts.
Character changes as much as a leopard’s spots. People may be able to hide themselves for a while, but their actions will always show us who they really are.
With each passing day, Martinez shows us that her expressions of concern for female victims are nothing more than words with no substance.