Annapolis, MD – In a verdict that reflects the severity of their actions, a man and a woman connected to the disappearance and murder of their former roommate, Megan Tilman, have been sentenced to the maximum term of 40 years in prison. The decision was announced by State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess, who condemned the defendants’ “senseless, thoughtless, and heinous” behavior.
Christina Harnish, also known as Christina Stallings, and William Rice had previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court. Their plea came after months of investigation and building a circumstantial case against them.
Leitess expressed her sympathy for the victim, describing Tilman as a vulnerable young woman who was tragically killed by the very individuals she trusted. The defendants had insinuated themselves into her life, exploiting her financially. Leitess added, “Her family has 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.”
The State’s Attorney thanked all the agencies involved in the investigation, acknowledging the efforts of Assistant State’s Attorney Glen Neubauer. Building a case based on circumstantial evidence presented a challenge, but the prosecution confronted it head-on, ultimately ensuring that the culprits are held accountable.
The events leading to Tilman’s disappearance unfolded in the fall of 2017 when Rice and Harnish shared a residence with Tilman and her elderly mother. The victim and her mother had been providing financial support to the defendants, but she suddenly vanished when Tilman ceased her assistance. Family members grew concerned as they stopped hearing from her, especially because Tilman frequently spoke with her young daughter over the phone. Furthermore, her ex-husband received suspicious text messages and noticed unusual social media posts from her account.
Meanwhile, Rice and Harnish had already fled to Arizona by bus. However, their escape did not prevent law enforcement from connecting them to Tilman’s case. Shortly after her disappearance, Tilman’s remains were discovered in the bay area of Shady Side’s Cedarhurst community in October 2017. Additionally, police linked both defendants to Tilman’s missing vehicle. Rice was identified as the individual seen driving the vehicle to various ATM machines during the period she went missing. Meanwhile, Harnish posted pictures of herself on social media while driving the car to rehome her pet before the pair fled the state. The abandoned vehicle was later found near a bus depot.
Authorities managed to apprehend Rice and Harnish in Arizona and were extradited to Maryland in early 2022. Since their arrival, they have been held without bond pending the conclusion of the legal proceedings.
The Honorable Cathleen Vitale presided over the case, ensuring that justice was served in the courtroom. The sentence of 40 years reflects the severity of the crime committed by Rice and Harnish, who betrayed the trust placed in them and caused the untimely demise of Megan Tilman.
As the defendants begin their lengthy prison terms, Tilman’s family and loved ones can find solace in knowing that justice has been served. The resolution of this case brings a glimmer of closure and relief after enduring the heart-wrenching ordeal of an unsolved murder. The memory of Megan Tilman will endure, and her legacy will be one of resilience and the pursuit of justice.