SEABROOK — A man arrested at Market Basket on Route 1 two years ago was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole for strangling his 32-year-old girlfriend.
Ryan Power, 34, of Malden, Massachusetts, was convicted of first-degree murder by a Middlesex Superior Court jury in the June 2017 death of Leah Penny in the home the couple shared, according to District Attorney Marian Ryan and Malden Chief of Police Kevin Molis.
Power was then sentenced to life in prison by Judge Peter Krupp, Ryan and Molis announced in a joint statement Thursday night.
The Malden man was arrested at the grocery store on a fugitive from justice charge justice by Seabrook police Officer John Giarrusso. Authorities did not say why Power was in Seabrook.
The arrest came a little more than an hour after the mother of the couple's 1- and 2-year-old children was found dead at the bottom of a staircase with a dog leash around her neck shortly before 10 a.m. on June 21, 2017. The two young children were found unharmed inside the Malden home along with a dog.
Power was arraigned that afternoon in 10th Circuit Court in Seabrook and waived extradition, according to police prosecutor Scott Mendes. The suspect was then returned to Massachusetts by Malden police and Massachusetts State Police.
A police investigation later revealed that after Power strangled the victim from behind with the leash, he posed her body and placed a vodka bottle beneath her to make it appear the death was accidental or committed by another person, the statement said. The couple had been in a relationship that began in 2014.
The investigation also led to the discovery of 48 secret recordings of the two arguing, found on Power's phone, and hidden cameras installed in their home with the intention of recording the victim without her knowledge, according to the Middlesex District Attorney's Office.
They included what authorities described as a "disturbing" hourlong recording unwittingly created by Power as he assaulted and threatened the woman.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Elizabeth Dunigan and Emily Jackson.