A man was found guilty Friday of manslaughter for shooting and killing an off-duty Howard County sheriff’s deputy outside a bar in Federal Hill because a jury determined that acted in partial defense of another person.

Jewel Crowder, 41, of Baltimore, was convicted in Baltimore Circuit Court of voluntary manslaughter, use of a handgun during the commission of a crime of violence and reckless endangerment in the killing of Ryan Demby. He was 23. The shooting happened on South Charles Street near East Cross Street on Sept. 29, 2023.

The jury deliberated for less than four hours and acquitted Crowder of first- and second-degree murder.

Crowder faces up to 35 years in prison, including a mandatory minimum of five years without the possibility of parole. Circuit Judge Yvette M. Bryant scheduled sentencing for Oct. 3.

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“If he was someplace else, if he was in Howard County, he wouldn’t have gotten manslaughter,” said Demby’s mother, Adrian, who added that she and her husband, Sam, who works in the Howard County Sheriff’s Office, are devastated by the verdict.

“You could see that was murder,” she added. “I don’t know how they can come to that conclusion.”

Her son, she said, had his entire life ahead of him.

Demby graduated from Calvert Hall in 2017, she said, and was in his final semester at the University of Maryland, College Park. She described him as a kind-hearted, respectful, well-mannered person who acted as a protector.

He aspired to professionally play golf. His mother said he also played basketball and piano — he had perfect pitch — during his spare time.

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“Ryan would do anything for anyone to make sure they were OK,” Adrian Demby said. “If he saw you in trouble, he would help you.”

One time, she recalled, her son was on the way to dinner with his girlfriend when he got out of the car and ran across Maryland Route 32 in Howard County to help people who had crashed.

Baltimore Police respond to a shooting on South Charles Street near East Cross Street in Federal Hill on Sept. 29, 2023. (Paul Mancano)

Crowder claimed that he acted in defense of a bouncer at the Wayward Bar & Kitchen, Justin Lee, as Ryan Demby, his older brother, Derran Hankins, and his friend, Jared Phillips, came back toward the business.

Hankins testified that he pulled out a knife and advanced toward the bouncer after receiving an urgent call on FaceTime from his younger brother and then seeing that Demby appeared disheveled and Phillips looked as if he’d been beaten up.

In her closing argument, Assistant State’s Attorney Elizabeth Stock said Crowder was acting as a designated driver for a friend and inserted himself into a situation that he had nothing to do with outside the bar.

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Crowder, she said, pulled out his handgun, stood by, walked up and fired eight shots at Demby, hitting him seven times.

Stock disputed how the defense characterized the evidence.

Demby was not thrown out of Wayward Bar & Kitchen. His blood alcohol level was 0.12% — not twice the legal limit for driving in Maryland. And though he pulled out his own handgun at one point, she said, he did not point the weapon at anyone.

Meanwhile, Crowder, she said, did not call the police. Instead, he increased his self-defense liability insurance after the shooting.

“This was not self-defense. This was not defense of others,” said Stock, who prosecuted the case with Assistant State’s Attorney Manaia Jespersen. “This was straight-up murder.”

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But Roland S. Harris IV, Crowder’s attorney, called Demby a “reckless gunman” and stated that prosecutors were making excuses for his behavior.

Harris questioned why Demby — a freshly minted sheriff’s deputy — did not himself call the police and leave.

Crowder, he said, witnessed Demby pull out his gun before the fatal confrontation and knew that he was armed. Harris brought up the saying, “Live by the gun, die by the gun.”

“When Jewel Crowder fired those shots, it was because he was trying to aid the person he was defending,” Harris said in his closing argument.

Crowder is being held in the Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and Classification Center, according to jail records.