Ben Renick, “rock star” reptile breeder murdered; Missouri coroner says “This was not only a random act”

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Within the moments after snake breeder Ben Renick was discovered useless, investigators thought he might need been the sufferer of an assault by certainly one of his prized reptiles.

On June 8, 2017, Lynlee Renick referred to as 911 to say her husband was face down in a pool of blood. She stated she discovered him in his snake facility, which was dwelling to greater than 3,000 reptiles, some value hundreds of {dollars}.

“Somebody being killed by a snake isn’t one thing that occurs day by day, particularly in Missouri,” coroner Dave Colbert tells “48 Hours.”

It seems that somebody being killed by a snake did not occur that day, both. That is as a result of Ben Renick was shot a number of instances. However by whom?

A SHOCKING DISCOVERY

On a sizzling Missouri summer season day in June 2017, Montgomery County sheriff’s deputies had been referred to as to a singular and probably harmful loss of life scene — a literal snake pit — a constructing with greater than 3,000 unique serpents.

renick-snakes.jpg

Physique cam video reveals a Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy greatly surprised whereas strolling by the snake-filled facility.

Proof

OFFICER 1 (physique cam video): I do not care if it is a 5-inch-long snake if one thing tries to chunk me, I am gonna mild its a– up.  

OFFICER 1 (physique cam video taking a look at snakes): Holy s—!

OFFICER 2: One thing acquired him, so watch you are a–.

The primary responders aren’t certain if certainly one of these snakes could have killed famend breeder Ben Renick.

OFFICER 1 (physique cam video): Who’s? 

OFFICER 2: Ben, uh, Ben Renick.

OFFICER 1: Oh.

OFFICER 1: Can we ensure that there is not any snakes across the sufferer?

OFFICER 2: Yeah.

Coroner Dave Colbert had by no means seen something prefer it.

Dave Colbert | Coroner: They’re holding shotguns in hand. There have been weapons out. You could possibly simply really feel the nervousness amongst everybody there.

Nobody knew the place the killer might be coiled or lurking. However whereas inspecting Ben’s physique, the coroner made a stunning discovery.  Ben’s physique — mendacity face down—hid the true reason behind loss of life. He hadn’t been bitten by an enormous snake. Ben had been shot eight instances, as soon as at shut vary.

Ben Renick murder shell casing

  “After I noticed that shell casing on the shelf simply above his head, I knew this was not from a snake. This was one thing way more heinous,” stated Coroner Dave Colbert. “I knew that this was a murder at the moment.”

Proof

Dave Colbert: This was one thing that was not only a random act.

LYNLEE RENICK (physique cam video): That is not a snake.

SAM RENICK: That is a snake honey.

LYNLEE RENICK: That is not a snake.

Close by was Ben’s spouse, Lynlee. She had found his physique. 

Dave Colbert: And she or he was visibly upset. What you’d describe as someone who was grieving and, , simply misplaced a cherished one.

OFFICER 1 (physique cam video): That is Sam, that is his brother, Ben.

OFFICER 2: OK.

Lynlee referred to as Ben’s brother Sam, who rushed to the scene.

OFFICER (physique cam video): Sam?

SAM RENICK: Lynlee acquired right here earlier than I did so I do not know

OFFICER: OK.

Ben Renick

Ben Renick

Ben Renick/Fb

Sam Renick: He was … shot within the again virtually solely. I — I do not suppose he noticed it coming in any respect. … Ben had such a future forward of him. You understand, he was 29 years previous. He was virtually — virtually 30. … Lots was misplaced.

Close to a distant stretch of freeway, about 80 miles west of St. Louis, as soon as stood a world-renowned snake breeding facility, Renick Reptiles, the place Ben Renick constructed his empire of serpents.

BEN RENICK VIDEO: “Welcome to the basement of Renick Reptiles. … we maintain specific pythons — blood pythons, white lip pythons, inexperienced anacondas …”

Sam Renick: Ben had — his first snake at a really younger age … And that turn out to be — considerably of a ardour for him. … turned — a passion to — construct into enterprise. And he was — he was excellent at what he did.

On the time of the homicide, Sam and Ben Renick had been residing in separate homes with their households on a 70-acre unfold.

Sam Renick: We lived on the market collectively. And raised our children on the market collectively. The — we went fishing on the weekends and — , we had been shut.

Ben and Lynlee first met once they had been youngsters. They reconnected in 2011, says native legal professional Katherine Berger.

Katherine Berger | Legal professional: They hit it off instantly. And their relationship acquired fairly severe, fairly rapidly. I believe they moved in collectively inside the first yr of courting.

Lynlee had a son from a earlier relationship. Sam says Ben turned a second father to the kid. In 2014, Ben and Lynlee determined to tie the knot.

Sam Renick: They’d a good looking marriage ceremony. …  It was … stunning, a small household occasion … it was very particular.

Ben and Lynlee Renick

Ben and Lynlee Renick

Ben Renick/Fb

Quickly, that they had a child of their very own. A rising household to go together with their booming snake breeding enterprise.

Katherine Berger: Lynlee discovered Ben’s ardour attention-grabbing. … She would work day and evening serving to Ben with the snakes, dealing with them, cleansing them, sorting them.

In 2016 they opened a second enterprise, Ascensia Spa in Columbia, Missouri, a longtime dream of Lynlee, who as soon as labored as a therapeutic massage therapist.

Sam Renick: I do know that when she began her spa enterprise, it is simply one thing that she had all the time wished to do this she — , that empowered her fairly a bit.

By 2017, Ben Renick’s snake enterprise was wildly profitable. He was transport his snakes world wide from the UK to Japan and was travelling to reptile conventions throughout the US.

Ben Renick

Ben Renick “was a younger up-and-coming rock star within the reptile world,”  stated Dāv Kaufman.

Ben Renick/Fb

He was so profitable, Ben realized, that if he bought a portion of Renick reptiles he might make some actual cash.

Sam Renick: Ben had deliberate on promoting the vast majority of his ball python assortment … for — from my understanding, it was a few $1.2 million. … Issues had been gonna be excellent for — my brother and — and Lynlee.

The couple had acquired their first cost of no less than $200,000, however then Ben was murdered.

Peter Van Sant: Once you heard that he was useless, what did you suppose might need occurred to him?

Dāv Kaufman: So, the primary query that I requested was, “What number of snakes had been lacking?” A facility like Ben’s — it — sadly, attracts a lotta unhealthy individuals, unhealthy those who see these snakes not as these stunning, superb creatures that they’re, however see them as greenback indicators.

To grasp the world of snakes that Ben lived and labored in, “48 Hours” spoke with Ben’s buddy Dāv Kaufman, who launched “48 Hours” correspondent Peter Van Sant to a reticulated python, a snake Ben was identified for all through the world due to how he bred them in captivity.

Dāv Kaufman (holding snake): Ben cherished these snakes as a result of how can ya not love these (laughs) snakes? I imply, actually, when it comes right down to it. … They’re large. They’re stunning. They’re personable.

Dāv Kaufman: She’s gonna go proper over your shoulder and attempt to go on the cage behind you (laughs). Let’s examine if I am proper.  …  no, she’s gonna wrap round ya.

Peter Van Sant: It is my new scarf.

Dāv Kaufman: There you go.

Kaufman can also be a snake breeder and a documentary movie maker who additionally travels the world monitoring uncommon and unique reptiles for his YouTube channel.

Peter Van Sant and Dāv Kaufman

“If you’re afraid of snakes… then all the pieces you suppose about snakes is mistaken,” stated Dāv Kaufman, who launched “48 Hours” correspondent Peter Van Sant  to a reticulated python.

CBS Information

Peter Van Sant (with snake wrapped round him): It is a first. It’s a exceptional sensation.

Dāv Kaufman: It’s.

Investigators appeared into the speculation that Ben’s homicide could have been a theft gone unhealthy however dominated it out; no snakes had been lacking. Dave Colbert says it made sense to look extra rigorously at these closest to Ben.

Dave Colbert: We undoubtedly did not need to exclude anyone from being a potential suspect. … I did not know if Sam was concerned. Did not know if Lynlee was concerned.

The day after his brother’s homicide, Sam Renick was introduced in for questioning.

SAM RENICK [police questioning] I uh, I do not know the place to begin.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: OK.

They usually additionally introduced in Lynlee.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: Do you will have any questions for us?

LYNLEE RENICK: What occurred?

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: We do not know but.

LYNLEE RENICK: What, I imply what do I do?

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: Lean in your family and friends.

However quickly sufficient, those self same family and friends would have purpose to query all the pieces they thought they knew about Lynlee Renick.

Sam Renick: The Lynlee that we knew again then was — very candy, form. Nonetheless, there was — there have been different sides of her that we did not know.

WHO WANTED BEN DEAD?  

With legislation enforcement discovering that Ben Renick had not been killed by a snake and rapidly ruling out the potential for a theft gone unhealthy, Sam Renick had one main query. 

Sam Renick: Who would’ve wished Ben useless?

A Missouri State Freeway Patrol detective had the identical query when he spoke with Ben’s spouse, Lynlee.

Lynlee Renick police questioning

Within the days after Ben Renick’s homicide, police questioned his spouse, Lynlee.

Proof

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: May you see anyone being upset with Ben to the purpose to the place which will occur?

LYNLEE RENICK: No.

Each Lynlee and Sam had been cooperative of their preliminary interviews.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: Are you prepared to undergo a shotgun or, not shotgun, a gunshot residue?

SAM RENICK: Yeah, something you need, you bought.

Sam says he understood why police would first give attention to them. And he instructed investigators he might by no means think about Lynlee being concerned.

Sam Renick: I did not suppose that Lynlee would have been able to homicide like that.    

Lynlee additionally agreed to a gunshot residue take a look at. However in her one-on-one interview with a detective, Lynlee made a startling declare, saying that Sam might need had a motive to kill his brother.    

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: Was there any household points?

LYNLEE RENICK: Um, like between Sam and Ben?  Yeah.

At challenge, Lynlee stated, was Ben’s plan to presumably promote the property the place all of them lived. She claimed Sam was upset about it.

Ben had inherited the property after one other tragedy on the Renick household farm simply 5 years earlier — the suicide of Ben and Sam’s father, Frank Renick. 

Sam Renick: Ben discovered him. He got here and acquired me, and we went there collectively and — it was a troublesome day.

Frank Renick shot himself in 2012 after being implicated in a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme involving fraudulent inventory certificates.

Sam Renick: There’s lots of people that misplaced some huge cash, , on account of my father.

Sam and Ben Renick

Sam and Ben Renick. San was questioned and  was dominated out as a suspect after cooperating totally with investigators.

Sam Renick/Fb

Unaware that Lynlee was implicating him, Sam questioned whether or not Ben had been killed in an act of revenge towards their father.

Sam Renick: We had been involved, nonetheless, that, , somebody might have been upset sufficient to have waited and completed one thing like this.

However that principle by no means took off and Sam, who had examined adverse for gun residue on his fingers, was dominated out after cooperating totally with investigators.

Sam Renick: I — supplied them, , all the pieces I had. My cellular phone, the shirt off my again, my alibi as to the place I used to be when the homicide occurred. I — I gave a polygraph.

As Freeway Patrol detectives continued their investigation, the reptile group stepped as much as assist Ben’s spouse and kids. They held an internet public sale of donated snakes, elevating greater than $40,000.

Peter Van Sant: You guys banded collectively, and you bought hundreds of {dollars} to Lynlee to assist her throughout this time of disaster.

Dāv Kaufman: Tens of hundreds. Yea. We raised tens of hundreds of {dollars} to assist Lynlee and the youngsters.

Peter Van Sant: Since you felt she was a sufferer.

Dāv Kaufman: That is appropriate. 

However that supposed sufferer had a startling confession when Lynlee spoke with detectives once more, simply 11 days after Ben’s homicide.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: So, have you ever been talkin’ to anybody, or did you will have a relationship?

LYNLEE RENICK: Aric.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: How usually did you guys hook up?

LYNLEE RENICK: Like, possibly a couple of times a month.

Lynlee admitted she had been untrue.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: It was simply — simply intercourse?

LYNLEE RENICK: Yeah.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: Did he suppose the identical means?

LYNLEE RENICK: Yeah.

Detectives checked that man’s alibi and cleared him of any suspicion. Investigators then interviewed Ashley Shaw, certainly one of Lynlee’s staff and a detailed buddy, who she had confided in— which can have been a mistake.

ASHLEY SHAW [police questioning]:  I imply I am certain that she was having, um, an affair.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: Uh-huh.

ASHLEY SHAW: A pair affairs, really.

Ashley Shaw, the supervisor at Ascensia Spa, stated that Lynlee had additionally been seeing one other man named Brandon Blackwell who she had met on a courting web site.  She stated Lynlee was hooking up with Brandon earlier than Ben’s homicide.

ASHLEY SHAW: I do know Brandon was like actually a short while earlier than that …

Together with Lynlee’s affairs, investigators had found Fb messages between Ben and Lynlee. They revealed that Ben had discovered the spa was dropping cash, and that Lynlee had lied to him about it. Ben despatched a message to Lynlee simply hours earlier than he was murdered:

BEN’S FACEBOOK MESSAGE TO LYNLEE: No extra mendacity, no extra maintaining issues from me, no extra not paying individuals and considering it is okay to pay later.

4 months after Ben’s homicide, Lynlee was in entrance of cops once more and agreed to take a polygraph examination.  

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR [interrogation]: OK, how do you suppose you probably did Lynlee?

LYNLEE RENICK: I believe I did properly. 

Not precisely. Lynlee’s polygraph take a look at was a dismal failure.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR [interrogation]: So, the outcomes of the polygraph present that you simply failed the take a look at. … After I requested you” did you shoot that man?” you failed the take a look at. 

LYNLEE RENICK: I am unable to clarify why I simply failed that, however I did not kill Ben.

However investigators suspected she did and will have had assist from one more man in her life. His identify is Michael Humphrey, an previous ex-boyfriend and ex-con contemporary out of jail on drug possession prices, who she texted and referred to as quite a few instances — together with on the day her husband was murdered.

Lynlee Renick police questioning

Lynlee Renick was questioned by investigators six instances.  She admitted being  untrue to Ben with no less than two different males. Messages between the couple present that Ben was suspicious. The connection was struggling. 

Proof

LYNLEE RENICK [police interview]: He was coming in for massages.   

OFFICER: Yeah, however the factor is that that proper there’s very suspicious. 

LYNLEE RENICK: (Cries)

It appeared Lynlee was near breaking. However she continued to disclaim any involvement, dozens of instances.

LYNLEE RENICK: I haven’t got something to do with this.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: There may be a lot circumstantial proof towards you on this case it is mind-boggling.

However Lynlee’s gunshot residue take a look at had come again adverse. With no witnesses, no homicide weapon discovered or direct proof linking her to Ben’s homicide, she left that interrogation room a free lady.

LYNLEE RENICK: I have to go get my kids.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: I am going to stroll you out.

The investigation went chilly for almost three years till, unexpectedly, somebody got here ahead with all the pieces Missouri Freeway Patrol investigators had been in search of.

A JAILHOUSE TIP

The boas are lengthy gone, the pythons packed up, and the snakes are in new houses. The reptilian paradise-turned crime scene, now a vacant frozen area. Eight deadly pictures unanswered.

Sam Renick: I wasn’t certain what to suppose.

Unaware that investigators suspected Lynlee, Ben Renick’s brother Sam was left greater than slightly uneasy.

Sam Renick: It was very, very powerful figuring out that somebody was on the market that had basically gotten away with homicide. I used to be involved for my very own security. 

And with out an arrest, serpent lovers had been additionally left rattled.

Dāv Kaufman: So, when the case went chilly, we’d all contact one another, asking if anyone had any info on what was occurring. … It was irritating, it was irritating to have all this time go and never have a offender in custody.

All Dāv Kaufman knew for certain …

Dāv Kaufman: People do issues aside from what you count on. Snakes don’t.

And essentially the most sudden conduct got here from the human closest to Ben Renick: his widow Lynlee.

Sam Renick: We wished to be as understanding as potential … Nonetheless, in time, when she refused to speak to us, or enable the youngsters, and even obtain my brother’s belongings, we knew one thing was mistaken.

Lynlee Renick

 “You understand, the Lynlee that we knew again then was very candy, form. She was outgoing. Nonetheless, there was — there have been different sides of her that we did not know,” stated Sam Renick.

Ben Renick/Fb

Actually, simply weeks after Ben’s homicide along with her spa enterprise failing, Lynlee had bought the household property, closed up store and left city in a rush.

Beth Mayberry: So, like someday she was there and the subsequent day simply left. … after which by no means got here again.

Right now, Beth Mayberry works at that very same location. However again then, she was only one extra true-crime buff in Columbia Missouri, riveted to a case and not using a conclusion.

Peter Van Sant:  How a lot is that this Renick case talked about round right here amongst —

Beth Mayberry:  It is loads. It is loads.

Peter Van Sant: …And what do individuals say? What do they suppose?

Beth Mayberry: Loopy — it is loopy. … And folks did begin to marvel … Possibly Lynlee did it. Possibly she had somebody do that. It did turn out to be a query.

A query with out a solution. Till January 2020, when cops adopted up on a jailhouse tip.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: We’re investigators with Freeway Patrol.  I am right here since you was once courting Lynlee.

BRANDON BLACKWELL: That is appropriate.

Dave McKenna: Outta nowhere comes what investigators would suppose is a godsend.

Journalist Dave McKenna was following the case for Defector Media, that was about to alter quick for investigators.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: Your dad gave me a name at the moment and stated that you simply wished to speak to us.

BRANDON BLACKWELL: Yeah.

Dave McKenna | Journalist: Simply lays out the entire story. And it is extremely detailed.

It was Brandon Blackwell. The person Lynlee met on-line — the lover she was hooking up with the very week Ben was murdered.

Dave McKenna: Her husband is freshly useless … physique remains to be heat, and he or she’s discovered one other heat physique.

Solely a year-and-a-half after Ben was killed, Blackwell and Lynlee had a baby collectively. However Lynlee alleged Blackwell had turn out to be threatening, and so they had damaged up. Lynlee acquired an order of safety and he was then charged with violating that order and stalking her — prices he denies. He was jammed up, in jail, and seeking to make a deal.

BRANDON BLACKWELL: My predominant concern is getting outta that cell … 

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: Now you are coming to us once you’re in a pickle so …

BRANDON BLACKWELL: Proper.

Blackwell’s story started weeks earlier than Ben Renick was shot useless — when he says Lynlee and spa worker Ashley Shaw whipped up a poisonous shake for Ben. 

BRANDON BLACKWELL: He was given a protein drink one evening that was laced filled with monumental quantities of narcotics … and one way or the other lived by it, however the plan was for that to be the final day of his life. 

Ben Renick

Ashley Shaw instructed  investigators  she felt sorry for Lynlee Renick and wished to assist her. They plotted to kill Ben., pictured, by giving him a toxic protein shake laced with 15 Percocet tablets. Ben was very sick, however survived. He had no thought he was poisoned.

Ben Renick/Fb

A poison potion served to a husband, by his spouse.  Brandon says Lynlee confessed that, and way more to him.

BRANDON BLACKWELL: My info is out of the horse’s mouth.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: OK.

So, when tablets did not kill, Brandon says Lynlee turned to one-time boyfriend Michael Humphrey.

BRANDON BLACKWELL: They drove to the farm, he had gloves, he had a firearm, the plan was for him to do it.  They get there he fingers her the gun and says he does not really feel comfy doing … it is one thing she’s gotta deal with.  She walks in with a gun … and simply shoots him a bunch of instances.

And in keeping with Blackwell, Lynlee’s spa worker Ashley Shaw was as soon as once more concerned.

Dave McKenna: Brandon Blackwell instructed the police that Ashley was in on it intimately from the beginning of the planning.

renick-lynlee-humphrey.jpg

Nearly three years after Ben Renick’s homicide, Lynlee Renick and her ex-boyfriend, Michael Humphrey, had been arrested for Ben’s homicide.

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Workplace

The chilly case was blown huge open. On January 16, 2020, cops made their strikes. Lynlee Renick and Michael Humphrey had been arrested, charged with the homicide of Ben Renick. Family members and mates by no means noticed it coming.

Peter Van Sant: What was that second like for you?

Dāv Kaufman: Disbelief. I assumed they acquired the mistaken particular person.

Sam Renick: It took us years to seek out out that Lynlee was mendacity and that she was residing a double life. … Sociopath. For those who look that up, Lynlee’s image’ll be sitting proper there with it.

However what motive might Lynlee should homicide the person she had constructed a lot with?  Some say it was as cold-blooded as a cobra. Cash.

Sam Renick: Lynlee stood to achieve thousands and thousands from the loss of life of my brother. Between the life insurance coverage, the sale of the snakes, and the household farm that she would inherit … it was important.

Nonetheless, investigators wanted somebody to flip. They arrested Ashley and quick let her know precisely what her future actuality may seem like.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR (to Ashley Shaw throughout questioning): Now’s the time, you are both on Staff Lynlee otherwise you’re on Staff Missouri.  And Staff Lynlee’s going to jail.  They are going to jail for first-degree homicide. 

In change for leniency, Ashley turned on her one-time boss, beginning with the poisonous elements in Lynlee’s venomous smoothie. Ashley would say that Lynlee instructed her Ben had abused her.

Ashley Shaw questioning

In change for leniency, Ashley Shaw turned on her one-time boss.

Proof

ASHLEY SHAW: She requested if I might get any, um, factor, any prescription tablets or something within the quantity that would, um, assist her kill him and so I acquired her, um, perc, it was Percocet I am fairly certain and there was, um, I believe 15 of them.

In response to Ashley, after the capturing Lynlee claimed Michael Humphrey was the triggerman. However, she says, just a few days later Lynlee modified her story. Ashley now claimed that Lynlee confessed to being the killer.

ASHLEY SHAW: … and he or she stated, “Oh, no, as soon as we acquired there I, I used to be superb to do it and so he handed me the gun and I did it.”

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR: After the homicide, she ever appear remorseful?

ASHLEY SHAW: By no means.

MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL INVESTIGATOR:: She ever appear sorry?

ASHLEY SHAW: By no means.  No.

However because it headed to trial, Lynlee’s authorized group insists that Michael Humphrey was the actual shooter.  They usually argue the state’s case is not based mostly on fact, however on the fearful, coerced testimony of Ashley Shaw.

Tim Hesemann | Protection legal professional: “You are both on Staff Lynlee otherwise you’re on group Missouri. And Staff Lynlee goes to jail.”

Peter Van Sant: How would that impression someone, a girl like Ashley Shaw, do you suppose?

Tim Hesemann: Effectively, if Ashley Shaw ever desires to go away that interview room for the remainder of her life or for the indefinite future … She’s going to alter her story.

Katherine Berger | Protection legal professional: It was solely after that menace that she modified her story and implicated Lynlee Renick.

WHO PULLED THE TRIGGER?

LYNLEE RENICK [police questioning]: I do not know what occurred with him. I do not know 

Sam Renick: It took lots of time to simply course of, , the lies that we got by Lynlee.

In late 2021, Sam Renick was bracing himself for the trials of his brother’s alleged killers.

Sam Renick: My largest concern was maintaining my composure throughout the entire time.

First up, Lynlee’s previous boyfriend, Michael Humphrey. The prosecution stated Lynlee fired the gun and that Humphrey was in on the plan.

Dave McKenna: Prosecutor stated he was — in on the plotting, he supplied the weapon. … he helped knock off her husband. 

However that homicide weapon had not been recovered.  Humphrey’s protection argued that Humphrey had been lured to the snake farm by Lynlee, who claimed she wished safety when asking Ben for a divorce. Lynlee had then stunned him and pulled out a gun and shot her husband.

Dave McKenna: They painted him as type of — a fawning suitor of this beautiful, blond, petite — snake salesman.”  

The jury did not consider Humphrey’s story of being an harmless spectator. After deliberating for simply 5 hours, jurors convicted him of first-degree homicide.

Sam Renick: Lynlee is a manipulator. And I actually consider that he was manipulated into the place he’s proper now.

Then, going through life behind bars, Michael Humphrey modified his story.  Lynlee’s trial attorneys Tim Hesemann and Katherine Berger.

Peter Van Sant: He decides to flip. Why does he try this? 

Katherine Berger: He is convicted of first-degree homicide after a jury trial. He agrees to cooperate with the state within the hopes that he may have the ability to parole out finally.

Humphrey now admits that he supplied the gun that Lynlee used to shoot her husband.

Katherine Berger: And he tells them the place they’ll discover it, which is in his girlfriend’s mom’s attic.

With the homicide weapon in hand, jurors in Lynlee’s upcoming trial must reply one unresolved query: who pulled the set off?

KELLY KING | PROSECUTOR: The defendant, Lynlee Renick, shot her husband, Ben, eight instances, killing him … we will come again and ask that you simply to seek out her responsible … 

Ben and Lynlee Renick

Ben and Lynlee Renick

Sam Renick/Fb

The prosecution painted Lynlee as cold-blooded as certainly one of her husband’s snakes. A killer who shot Ben after which went about her day by day routine as if nothing had occurred. 

KELLY KING: She goes to the college, picks up her two kids, and drives them again to the place the place she is aware of she goes to seek out their father’s useless physique as a result of she killed him.

TIM HESEMANN: Lynlee is being misleading to Ben.

The protection counters by saying that whereas Lynlee lied and cheated on Ben, that does not make her a killer.

TIM HESEMANN: She isn’t planning a homicide. She’s planning a divorce.

They pointed the finger on the man already convicted of murdering Ben Renick.

Tim Hesemann: Michael Humphrey took it upon himself appearing utterly independently … took Ben’s life himself.

However However Lynlee’s worker and confidant, Ashley Shaw—now the prosecution’s star witness—swears Michael Humphrey and Lynlee had been full companions in crime.

ASHLEY SHAW: Michael was going to return to the spa, and so they had been going to go collectively to her — her home, his enterprise — to kill him at dwelling, or at — at work.

Shaw says after the homicide, Lynlee returned to the spa—not for a therapeutic massage—however to scrub away her sins.

KEVIN ZOELLNER | PROSECUTOR: So, Lynlee goes again there and he or she tells you to do what?

ASHLEY SHAW: To present her a bathe … and he or she requested me to wash her physique and her fingers very well.

Then, Ashley tells the jurors what Lynlee instructed her about what actually occurred at Renick Reptiles the day Ben was killed.

ASHLEY SHAW: She stated that Michael acquired — too nervous, or did not need to do it, and so he handed her the gun, and he or she really killed him, she stated that she put the gun to his again and shot him a number of instances.

However the protection claims Ashley Shaw—identical to Michael Humphrey—made up this story with the intention to keep away from life in jail.

TIM HESMANN: How can you be so calm once you’re being questioned about murders that you simply evidently declare to be so concerned in, how is that Ashley?”

ASHLEY SHAW: I do not know.

Tim Hesemann: There are such a lot of points of Ashley Shaw’s story that merely usually are not credible.

Michael Humphrey

Michael Humphrey, convicted of first-degree homicide, admitted that he supplied the gun that Lynlee Renick used to shoot her husband.

CBS Information

And now, in an odd twist of judicial destiny, the prosecution referred to as an unlikely, key witness to the stand.

KEVIN ZOELLNER: Now, what am I holding up?

MICHAEL HUMPHREY: That is my gun.

KEVIN ZOELLNER: That is what your gun is?

MICHAEL HUMPHREY: Sure.

Convicted assassin Michael Humphrey, who now swears he is telling the reality about how Lynlee killed her husband.  

MICHAEL HUMPHREY: I heard a shot come out … so I kinda ducked slightly bit, and I appeared down by there. And she or he was on the finish of the— hall or no matter you need to name it, posted up like this with the gun.

Because the trial neared its finish, the protection took an opportunity, on a star witness of their very own. Lynlee started by detailing the troubled and typically violent marriage she claims she was attempting to flee.

KATHERINE BERGER: Lynlee, was there ever some other event the place an argument with Ben turned bodily?

LYNLEE RENICK: Sure.

LYNLEE RENICK: Ben and I had been arguing on the home. … and he grabbed my arm and pushed me into the fridge and was like” I am not completed with this, we’re gonna end it now.”

Lynlee Renick

Throughout her trial, Lynlee Renick detailed the troubled and typically violent marriage she claims she was attempting to flee.

CBS Information

Lynlee Renick by no means filed any police studies in regards to the alleged bodily abuse.

Sam Renick: Abusive is a phrase that I might not use with Ben … he was very form, very loving.

Then, got here her likelihood to elucidate why she requested Michael Humphrey to accompany her that deadly day.    

LYNLEE RENICK: “Hey, my marriage is falling aside. Will you please simply go together with me simply to ensure, like, , I am protected and I can get some stuff and go?”

KATHERINE BERGER: Did you ask Michael that can assist you kill your husband?

LYNLEE RENICK: No.

KATHERINE BERGER: Set the scene for me and the jury.

LYNLEE RENICK: I walked up (exhales) proper— proper behind Michael. … After which (exhales) Michael circled, and I noticed a gun in his fingers, after which I heard pictures ring out. And I screamed and I ran outdoors. After which I heard extra pictures go off, and all the pieces simply went numb. And I keep in mind staring on the bushes, (exhales) after which Michael working out of the ability and pushing me in direction of the automotive and telling me, “We now have to go, Lynlee, get within the automotive, we’ve to go now.”

Claiming to be in shock, Lynlee admitted she did not inform the reality to investigators, however stated that did not add as much as homicide.

LYNLEE RENICK: And I perceive what which means and the way this appears. I simply — I do not know tips on how to totally specific that I — I by no means wished Ben useless.

The prosecution was able to strike.

KEVIN ZOELLNER: You had been interviewed a bunch by a buncha cops. Appropriate?

LYNLEE RENICK: Sure.

ZOELLNER: And also you lied to them each time.

LYNLEE RENICK: Sure.

ZOELLNER: However deep down in that coronary heart of yours and in that mind of yours, who killed him. Appropriate?

LYNLEE RENICK: Sure.

Lynlee’s lies to cops included a horrible slander: accusing Sam Renick of killing his brother.

LYNLEE RENICK: After which anytime the police requested me who I assumed, I simply instructed them, “Sam.” (cries) I am so sorry.”

Sam Renick: Her attempting to apologize to me on the stand and garner sympathy with the jury did not sit properly with me … there is not any low too low for — for that one.

KEVIN ZOLLNER: Why ought to these jurors now consider you? … You now need these 12 individuals to consider you. Appropriate?

LYNLEE RENICK: Sure.

KEVIN ZOLLNER: I guess you do.

Katherine Berger: Whereas I remorse that it took her two-and-a-half years to inform the reality … I believe she was relieved that the complete story had lastly been instructed … and now it was within the jury’s fingers.

A JURY DECIDES

It had been virtually 5 lengthy years since Ben Renick was murdered. Exhausted, Sam Renick waited for a jury to weigh the proof towards his youthful brother’s bride.

And after 12 hours, the choose revealed the decision.

JUDGE CRANE [studying verdict): As to depend 1, we the jury discover the defendant Lynlee Renick responsible of homicide within the second diploma … Verdict as to depend 2, we the jury discover the defendant responsible of armed prison motion. 

In that second, 33-year-old Lynlee Renick turned a convicted killer. 

Sam Renick

Sam Renick reacts to listening to Lynlee Renick’s responsible verdict.

CBS Information

Sam Renick: She actually believed that she was gonna get away with all this. And she or he actually believed that she was gonna get what she had deliberate after murdering my brother.

The time nonetheless to be measured … the size of her keep in a Missouri jail.

JUDGE CRANE (to jurors): You could now retire to contemplate punishment on this case.

For that, jurors gathered once more, for a separate sentencing listening to. Whereas life was an possibility, the jury would decide on one thing significantly much less.

JUDGE CRANE: Punishment for homicide within the second diploma at 13 years. … Punishment for armed prison motion at three years.

13 plus three years for Ben Renick’s life.  Jurors by no means stated why they selected such a seemingly mild punishment. However six weeks later, Sam would inform the court docket that the sentence itself was an injustice.

SAM RENICK: I encourage the widespread particular person to look at the trial once more and ask themselves if my brother’s life was value solely 16 years. Sixteen years is why I am right here at the moment.

He would recount that hideous day that modified all the pieces.

SAM RENICK: The net of devastation travels far …

And spared nobody. 

SAM RENICK: She put the kids by this expertise. Right here I’m, coated in my brother’s blood, making an attempt to consolation the kids regardless of them asking me if their daddy is useless.

Sam’s frustration on the sentence gave the impression to be shared by the choose. However underneath Missouri legislation, he couldn’t enhance Lynlee’s punishment.

JUDGE CRANE: You are terrible fortunate ma’am. You are gonna get out in your 40s. And my 40s weren’t too unhealthy. I simply hope you do not kill once more. That is it.

Some mirrored on the solid of unhealthy characters: two convicted killers and Ashley Shaw, granted immunity after plotting with Lynlee twice.

Dave McKenna: These individuals, these creeps and darkish characters … behaving very badly, and behaving inhumanely in direction of people.

Ben Renick had created an Eden for serpent lovers. However it was individuals, not a snake that destroyed his paradise.

Dave McKenna: You may cut back it to a narrative of greed … it might be so simple as that.

Greed that left in its bloody wake kids and a brother decided to hold on.

Sam Renick: The children misplaced their father … My infants, and Ben’s infants, and — I am right here to … deal with them for the remainder of my life.

And world wide, wherever reptiles coil, slither and slide, the lack of a famous person remains to be felt.

Dāv Kaufman: What occurred to Ben was a tragedy that completely didn’t have to occur. And … (sighs).

Renick ghost

The Renick Ghost, a brand new breed of snake, was named in Ben’s honor.

Jeff Kelley, El Segundo Pythons on YouTube

But Ben Renick lives on, in a means he would certainly have cherished — celebrated, with a brand new breed of snake named only for him.

Dāv Kaufman: The Renick Ghost. And what ghost is is a slight discount of blacks, colour. It provides the snake a ghosty look to it. … And that’s such a testomony to what Ben meant to this group, that he now has a mutation of a snake named after him.

Peter Van Sant: You miss your buddy.

Dāv Kaufman: Each single expo that we’d see one another at, there’s a emptiness there that can by no means be stuffed once more.

The stalking and associated prices towards Brandon Blackwell had been dropped.

Lynlee Renick will likely be eligible for parole by 2035.

Produced by Chris O’Connell, Jamie Stolz and Alicia Tejada. Elizabeth Caholo is the event produce. Marlon Disla, George Baluzy, Grayce Arlotta-Berner, Gregory F. McLaughlin and Jud Johnston are the editors. Lourdes Aguiar is the senior producer. Nancy Kramer is the chief story editor. Judy Tygard is the chief producer

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