Attorney Scully Defends Couple Charged with Manslaughter

OCT 11, 2013

By Lane Lambert and Patrick Ronan
The Patriot Ledger, October 11, 2013

Quincy, MA — DA Quincy couple has been indicted for manslaughter in the fatal drug poisoning of their infant daughter two years ago in Marshfield. Ryan Barry, 30, and AshleyCyr, 26, were arrested Friday morning at their home. the Plymouth District Attorney’s office said an autopsy determined that Mya Barry died from opiate poisoning, and that the baby formula found in a bottle at the scene tested positive for opiates. Marshfield police found three grams of heroin and hypodermic needles on a shelf in the bedroom the baby shared with her parents and two sisters ages 3 and 4.

When Marshfield police got to the 11 Castle Green apartment on Sept. 23 2011, officers found 5-month-old Mya Barry lying blue and lifeless on the living room floor, as the child’s grandmother tried to revive her. Ryan Barry, the infant’s father, was screaming. Her mother, Ashley Cyr, was outside on the porch, showing little reaction as she smoked a cigarette.

That’s the scene Plymouth County first assistant district attorney Frank Middleton described Friday, during Barry and Cyr’s arraignment on manslaughter charges in Brockton Superior Court.

Barry and Cyr pleaded innocent. They are each being held on $200,000 cash bail. Barry and Cyr’s court-appointed defense attorneys asked for $10,000 with conditions, but Plymouth County Superior Court Judge Raymond Veary Jr. approved the prosecution’s bail request.

Cyr is also charged with reckless endangerment of a child. They will return to court Nov. 9 for a pretrial session.

“How did the heroin get into the bottle?” Plymouth County First Assistant District Attorney Frank Middleton said shortly after the arraignment. “Only two people know.”

Barry’s attorney Liam Scully of Marshfield questioned why prosecutors took two years to secure an indictment. And he challenged prosecutors’ case, saying “they can’t tell what happened” the day Mya Barry died, because the evidence isn’t as clear as prosecutors contend.”

Both parents have histories in the court system. Middleton said Barry pleaded guilty to heroin possession in April 2012 and also has a past statutory rape charge, while Cyr had three default warrants on a heroin-possession charge.

Middleton also said the state Department of Child and Families made numerous visits to the household in the months before Mya Barry’s death. He said DCF warned Barry that Cyr shouldn’t live there because she was an active heroin user and that Barry told DCF she was living with her mother when she was actually living at Castle Green.

As Barry and Cyr sat in court with their heads lowered, Middleton said officers found three grams of heroin and hypodermic needles on an open shelf in the bedroom where Barry, Cyr, Mya and her two sisters aged 3 and 4 all slept.

Middleton said the apartment was “cluttered and filthy,” with more heroin and needles and disposed items in another room. Other people sometimes lived in the apartment with the family, and Cyr had even snorted powdered heroin off the pages of a Dr. Seuss children’s book.With those conditions, Middleton said “it was almost inevitable” that something like Mya Barry’s death was likely.

Investigators found two baby bottles – one dry, the other with liquid formula in it. Middleton said the formula tested positive for morphine and “morphine derivatives,” or heroin. He said a state medical examiner later reported that Mya Barry’s blood, kidneys and liver contained the drug.

Middleton said Barry told investigators after he was arrested Friday that he prepared the formula at 7:30 that morning, and that he might have mixed the formula powder with water from a container “that maybe someone used” to clean a drug syringe.

Middleton said Mya was born heroin-addicted in April 2011, because Ashley Cyr was using the drug daily during the pregnancy. He said the child was treated in the hospital in the early weeks of her life to wean her off the drug, but he said the prenatal condition wasn’t connected to her death from the poisoned formula.

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