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Fugitive caught, sentenced in Ashland home-invasion robbery

A man who stole more than $171,000 from a safe in an Ashland home has been sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison for the burglary.

Ryan Charles Williams, 23, formerly of Eagle Point, pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree burglary and first-degree aggravated theft for his role in holding an Ashland man at gunpoint in 2012 and demanding he open a safe in his house on Alnut Street.

Williams was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay $171,718 in restitution to the victim for his part in the crime.

The victim said assailants held a gun to his head and threatened to shoot him and his dogs if he didn't open the safe. The victim said the assailants stole $300,000 in cash.

The victim declined to say why he had that amount of cash in the safe. He said he no longer lives in the house and does not keep large quantities of money at home. He said he doesn't know how the assailants knew he had a safe and money in his house.

Dylan Ashmun of Eagle Point and Michael Tracy of Medford were sentenced in 2012 to six years in prison and three years in prison, respectively, for their role in the home-invasion robbery. Ashmun is also serving a 10-year sentence at the same time for manslaughter for shooting a man in the head with a shotgun in Eagle Point, according to court records.

Williams was arrested in 2012 and held on $50,000 bail, but then fled to California after bail security of $5,000 was posted.

In October 2014, U.S. Marshals arrested Williams in Los Angeles. He has been held in the Jackson County Jail without bail since November 2014.

The victim said he has slept with a pistol under his pillow since the burglary and takes medication for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The victim said the assailants will never be able to pay back the money they stole in his lifetime.

Williams' defense attorney Larry Roloff said his client is very remorseful and ashamed of his conduct.

Reading from a letter he wrote, Williams said he wishes he could go back in time and undo his actions. He said countless times he has wished he would wake up in the morning and find out the whole situation was just a nightmare.

The victim said he doesn't believe Williams is remorseful and that the prison sentence is too light.

"If Mr. Williams is so remorseful, why did the U.S. Marshals have to go find him in California? Why didn't he turn himself in?" the victim asked.

Roloff said Williams had been a promising young man until he got involved with drugs and the wrong people.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Lorenzo Mejia said substance abuse is not an excuse for Williams' actions.

"You had the clearness of mind to engage in this very destructive conspiracy," Mejia told Williams. "You clearly understood what you were doing and that you were acting to terrify someone."

Mejia said the prison sentence negotiated as part of a plea agreement likely would have been more severe, but the Jackson County District Attorney's Office had problems with witnesses in the case.

Also on Friday, Williams pleaded guilty to fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, two counts of failure to perform the duties of a driver to an injured person and driving under the influence of intoxicants for a Dec. 2012 incident in which he injured two people and damaged a pole while fleeing police.

Williams also pleaded guilty to delivery of cocaine and possession of a controlled substance in a 2011 case.

He was ordered to pay $19,541 in restitution and serve 15 months in prison on top of his five year and 10 month sentence in the burglary case. His total prison sentence is seven years and one month.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.