PHOENIX – A repeat felon who committed three armed robberies and a murder in the space of a month is on his way to prison today, where he will spend the rest of his life. Ryan William Foote (D.O.B. 5/15/1989) was sentenced by the Honorable Judge Joseph Welty to a term of natural life after previously pleading guilty to one count of first degree murder. His sentence will commence after he completes a previously imposed 21-year prison sentence for three counts of armed robbery and two counts of aggravated assault. Foote had a previous conviction for criminal damage and was on probation for that crime when he committed the armed robberies, aggravated assaults and murder.
“A life sentence is a just punishment for this defendant who violently ended a young man’s life for nothing but selfish and vindictive reasons,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “It also ensures that he will never again experience freedom or have the opportunity to threaten or harm members of our community,” he added.
On the afternoon of Septebmer 26, 2011, Phoenix Police responded to a shooting call at an apartment complex in the 3200 block of West Glendale Avenue. Upon arrival they discovered Andrew Speroni who had suffered at least one gunshot wound. He was transported to John C. Lincoln Hospital and subsequently pronounced dead. Witnesses at the scene identified Ryan Foote as the suspected shooter and related that Foote was angry over a recent breakup with his girlfriend and her apparent romantic interest in one of his friends. An eyewitness reported that Foote had forcibly entered Speroni’s residence, shot him in his bedroom and then fled the scene.
After additional witness interviews, investigators located Foote later that afternoon and took him into custody without incident. When questioned, Foote admitted to forcibly entering the victim’s apartment but claimed that he had fired at him in self-defense. His account was contradicted by evidence at the scene. Text messages recovered from his ex-girlfriend’s cell phone indicated that Foote was angry that she was possibly dating Speroni and that he intended to kill him.
On September 30, 2011, a Grand Jury indicted Foote on one count of first degree murder and one count of burglary in the first degree. The State subsequently filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty. As a result of their investigation of the murder of Andrew Speroni, police were able to link Foote to three separate armed robberies that occurred on September 3, 2011 at a Circle K convenience store, a Del Taco restaurant and a Shell gas station. He was subsequently indicted for those offenses.
Last April, Foote pled guilty to the armed robbery and aggravated assault charges and was sentenced by Judge Welty to 21 years in prison. On February 6, 2015, Foote waived his right to a trial and agreed to plead guilty to the murder count, leaving the determination to the court whether he should be sentenced to life with the possibility of parole, or natural life.