Earlier this week, we brought you news about Robert Christopher Ringley, the second-year student at Ave Maria School of Law who stands accused of shooting at and threatening to kill two of his classmates — Christopher Graves and Samantha Morris — during an alleged drunken bender.
In case you missed our coverage, Ringley has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Prior to his arrest, Ringley allegedly shared his feelings with Morris, his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend, while pacing back and forth with a gun:
“Just tell me you love me. I love you. I can kill myself. I can kill you. It’s simple.”
Creepy and melodramatic. Not a good way to keep a failing relationship intact, bro. So, who is the man who stole Ave Maria’s long-worn shroud of infamy from Andrew Shirvell, former Michigan assistant attorney general and outspoken opponent of homosexuality?
A former classmate has stepped forward to give us all the details….
Before we get to our tipster’s account of Ringley, WINK News was able to obtain additional information from one of the law school’s student leaders:
Classmates say they never expected this from Ringley. Ben Donovan, Student Bar Association President, describes Ringley as an outgoing and carefree person. He says everyone on campus is shocked to learn of the charges against their classmate. …
Donovan says, “there’s been a lot of shock and it’s been difficult to process the information we’ve been given.” …
Donovan says he knew all three involved in the incident and says there were no signs Robert had any issues.
“Personally through my interactions with Rob, I didn’t see anything and I don’t think the student body saw anything that would indicate any behavior like this,” Donovan said.
From what Donovan had to say, and from Ringley’s description in the arrest report — BRO hair and BRO eyes — it seems like this New Jersey native was just a run of the mill, fratastic bro. Apparently love (plus lots and lots of alcohol) makes people do crazy things. Who knew?
Our tipster shared Donovan’s sentiments about Ringley, noting that he “seemed like the nicest guy you could ask for.” Ringley’s a nice guy? You think the kid who allegedly tried to kill his roommate and his ex-girlfriend is a nice guy? You know who else was a nice guy? Jeffrey Dahmer.
Our tipster gave us a detailed account of Ringley, telling us about his behavior in law school, his personality, and his relationship with the roommate at whom he allegedly shot. Our tipster notes:
He is funny, outgoing, and often showed moments of very good legal reasoning. While hardly a scholarly giant, professionally speaking I imagine Rob would have made an adequate attorney (which is not saying a lot these days, I know).
It’s a shame that Ringley only showed “moments” of good legal reasoning, because perhaps he might have been able to get himself out of this pickle if only he had taken a moment to think it through.
I had the occasion to study with Rob a few times and there are precious few who could make a room full of people laugh as hard as Rob could. Further, Rob was fairly popular with the student body. From what (apparently little) I knew about Rob, I never would have guessed that he would be involved in charges this severe. I had heard rumors that, when drinking, he could be excessively belligerent, but there is an enormous chasm between belligerence and attempted murder.
Unfortunately, when you’re as drunk as Ringley reportedly was, the chasm between belligerence and attempted murder isn’t as enormous as you’d think. Besides, all you need to do is check court records to see that Ringley’s judgment isn’t exactly up to snuff when he’s been drinking. After all, he was arrested for a misdemeanor DUI charge during his first semester of law school, for which he received probation and community service.
What shocked me most upon hearing the news — aside from the whole attempted multiple homicide chestnut — is the fact that Chris and Rob were, or at least appeared to be, great friends. They sat next to each other in almost every class during the 1L year, which, I imagine, is a close to sharing a fox hole with someone as it gets. Chris is a great guy and my deepest sympathies go out to him. Given the apparent state of their friendship, I have a hard time believing that any civil charges are pending from Chris’s end, but my friends have never tried to murder me in a drunken rage, so….
Given that Ringley and Graves were BFFs in the past, you’ve got to wonder if something happened to sour their relationship. Come on, even during your darkest descent into drunkenness, you’ve probably never contemplated murdering a friend. Maybe some of our commenters were right. Was Graves trying to pull a robbery on Ringley’s girl? Is that why he allegedly tried to kill him?
For the time being, this is all speculation. We may never know what actually happened that night, but we hope to get a better idea on February 6, when Ringley is due back in court. Until then, raise a glass and pour one out for this poor, misguided bro.