On January 8, 2009 Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Ryan sentenced Ryan Chronis to 29 1/2 years in prison for murdering his girlfriend, then leaving her young children alone in their apartment on North Cave Creek Road while he drove her body to Puerto Penasco, Mexico.
Chronis, 26, pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Brianna Wood, 22, as part of a plea bargain. He was also convicted of two counts of child abuse for leaving the children, aged 2 and 3, to fend for themselves. The sentence included 22 years in prison for the murder, followed by two consecutive sentences of 3.75 years for two counts of child abuse.
Chronis stabbed the young woman and slit her throat on July 4, 2007, then put her body in the cargo area of her SUV and drove across the border. A Sonora police officer who stopped Chronis for running a stop sign in Puerto Penasco noticed a bloody sheet in the rear of the vehicle, and further inspection revealed Wood's mutilated body. Chronis allegedly told the officer that being high on crack cocaine was responsible for his actions, and that he was looking for a safe place to dump the body.
Chronis was arrested and held by Mexican police, who notified authorities in Arizona of the arrest. A few days later Mexican authorities handed him over to Phoenix police, who charged him with murder and other crimes. Bail was set at $750,000.
Chronis, who was once touted as a bright spot on Peoria's Sunrise Mountain High School championship baseball team in 2001, showed a brooding and violent side on his MySpace page, and had a long history with Phoenix area law enforcement. According to published reports he had been convicted in recent years of a range of speeding and other traffic offenses in Scottsdale, Glendale, Peoria and Sun City.
In a more serious case, Chronis in June 2003 was placed on 18 months probation and ordered to perform community service for criminal possession of a forgery device. He was also ordered to undergo drug screening.
More than a half-dozen local and federal law enforcement agencies in both Mexico and the United States were involved in the murder case.