SCRANTON, Pa. -- A jury in Lackawanna County found Ryan Taylor not guilty of the most serious charges he faced for the death of Danee Mower.
Two years ago, almost to the day, Mower drowned in the Lackawanna River in Scranton.
Taylor, on trial for her death, was acquitted of first and third-degree murder charges, but a jury found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Taylor's attorney Matt Comerford said he was pleased with the outcome.
“Ryan's always maintained his innocence. There was a conviction. We asked for a not guilty on everything, but we're really happy with an involuntary manslaughter,” said Comerford.
Taylor was accused of pushing Mower into the Lackawanna River on February 28, 2017. Investigators say the two got into an argument over drugs along the railroad tracks off Olive Street in Scranton.
Prosecutors said Mower's body was in the frigid water for nearly a half hour that February day before she was pulled out. According to the Lackawanna County coroner, the cause of death was hypothermia and drowning.
A witness at the river that day testified that Mower was on her back, motionless when Taylor grabbed her legs and pushed her into the water.
Taylor was arrested in March of 2017 and was charged with her murder.
Taylor's attorney says his client has been locked up since his arrest two years ago. He's hoping he'll be released for time served.
“The maximum penalty you can get is two and a half to five years,” said Comerford. “Completely different creature, third-degree murder you're looking at 20 to 40 years. First [degree], you're looking at life.”
The area of the river where Mower was pulled from is near the Keystone Mission, a place where the city's homeless can get food, clothes, and a place to stay warm.
“She was here every night for a meal, including Monday night, and as you said Tuesday morning, she was pulled out of the water,” said Mission CEO John Gleason who says both Taylor and Mower used their services frequently.
Gleason said they both were people trying to survive, and what happened was a tragedy for them both.
“We actually had a memorial service for her because she didn't have anybody, and we just felt that it was necessary that we acknowledge her life,” said Gleason.
A sentencing date has yet to be set for Ryan Taylor.