Earl Ryan ends trial early by pleading guilty to killing two-year-old Noah Crookham

As the Darrent Williams murder trial was winding down, another proceeding about an event with tragic consequences -- the trial of Earl Ryan, who allegedly shot and killed a two-year-old boy, Noah Crookham, in 2008 -- was getting underway.

But while members of the Williams jury are considering the fate of accused slayer Wilie Clark at this hour, jurors in the Ryan matter are off the hook. Today, the Denver District Attorney's Office has announced that Ryan has pleaded guilty to lesser but still serious charges -- child abuse resulting in death and second-degree assault, as opposed to first-degree murder and two other counts.

Get the details below:


A man accused of shooting and killing a 2-year-old boy in 2008 unexpectedly pleaded guilty in connection with the case today, just as his trial was getting underway in Denver District Court.

Earl Ryan (dob: 06-15-68) pleaded guilty this morning to child abuse resulting in death (F3) and second-degree assault (F4). In exchange for his guilty plea, charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and first-degree assault were dismissed.

On October 12, 2008 at about 9:50 a.m., Denver Police responded to the 1200 block of Madison Street on a report of a shooting. The investigation showed that Ryan had fired shots that injured 30-year-old Thomas Crookham and killed 2-year-old Noah Crookham.

Ryan faces up to 28 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections when he is sentenced on May 4, 2010 at 1:30 p.m. in Denver District Courtroom 23.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts