Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Mother’s sting catches son ‘hiring hitman to kill her’

As a mom, I find it hard to believe that this was the best way to handle her son's problems. I think counseling might have been a better alternative.

Like many middle-class, suburban American parents, Shannan and Joey Troiano worried about their son’s behaviour and his bad grades at high school. And like many wayward teenagers, Cory Ryder was grounded for weeks at a time, had a PlayStation confiscated and was banned from watching TV.

Less typically, this 16-year-old was plotting to murder his parents by hiring a hitman, while his mother was organising a sting operation involving a police officer posing as a contract killer.

Cory’s trial is scheduled to begin today at the circuit court in St Mary’s County, Maryland. His mother is expected to testify as a witness for the prosecution.

At an earlier court hearing Mrs Troiano, 35, explained how her emotions were torn between being an agonised mother and a murder victim. “I miss him being at home,” she said, “and I miss us joking around and kidding around. And then in the very same breath – I don’t know what this kid will do, because it’s not my son. That can’t be my little boy sitting there.”


Mrs Troiano had left his father when Cory was little more than a year old but, by the time she remarried, her son’s behaviour was getting steadily worse.

He walked out of lessons at Spring Ridge Middle School in Lexington Park, smashed a fire extinguisher case and then broke into the county fairgrounds, where he vandalised property. A judge sentenced him to supervised probation and his parents attended no less than 36 meetings with the authorities about him.