ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A man and woman extradited from Arizona to Maryland in 2022 in connection to killing and dismembering their former roommate in 2017 were each sentenced to 40 years in prison.
In a news release, Maryland State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said Christina Harnish, also known as Christina Stallings, and William Rice were given the maximum sentence on Friday after they had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Rice and Harnish were roommates with Megan Tilman and her elderly mother in the fall of 2017 in Annapolis, Maryland, according to The Associated Press. Both had depended on Tilman and her mother for financial support. Prosecutors claimed that she disappeared when Tilman stopped providing the pair with financial backing.
Tilman’s ex-husband reported that he got some odd text messages and saw some suspicious social media posts, the state’s attorney’s office said. He noticed that the messages on text and social media were different from how Tilman normally would communicate.
In October 2017, Tilman’s body parts were washed up near the Shady Side shoreline, according to the AP.
Tilman’s remains were not identified as hers for about 18 months, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Public defender Anne Stewart-Hill claimed that Harnish had a three-way romance with Rice and Tilman after she had gotten herself out of an abusive relationship, the newspaper reported. Prosecutors as well as the police believed that the pair was manipulating Tilman, who was “intellectually disabled.”
Police linked Harnish and Rice to Tilman’s missing car, according to the state’s attorney’s office. Rice was seen driving her car to ATM machines around the time Tilman was missing. Harnish posted photos of her driving the car to rehome a pet. The car was eventually located at a bus depot.
Rice and Harnish left Maryland for Arizona, the state’s attorney’s office said. They were eventually arrested and extradited back to Maryland in 2022.
Maryland Assistant State’s Attorney Glen Neubauer said that Tilman’s money paid for the pair to get to Arizona. According to the AP, they lived in a homeless encampment there for about four years before they were arrested and brought back to Maryland. The pair’s attorneys claimed that they had a deadly argument with Tilman due to use of alcohol and crack cocaine.
“Megan was a vulnerable young woman who was killed by two people she trusted who worked their way into her life and took advantage of her financially,” Leitess said in the news release. “Her family long-awaited answers for this crime, and I hope today’s sentence brings a sense of closure and relief from the nightmare of an unsolved murder of a beloved daughter and mother.”