Marian T. Ryan, who was named Middlesex district attorney Tuesday, is not only familiar with violent crime from her three decades as a prosecutor. She is herself a survivor.
On Oct. 2, 1980, Ryan was sitting in her boyfriend’s car on Memorial Drive in Cambridge when two men approached. When one man tried to yank open the door and pull Ryan out, her boyfriend, Edward T. Bigham III, pushed her back into the seat. In the ensuing struggle, Bigham, a 28-year-old prosecutor, was shot in the chest and killed. Ryan, then a 25-year-old prosecutor, was so close to the pistol she had gunpowder burns on her face.