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How cops shot dead suspected serial killer by pruning trees amid murder

Tehama District Attorney’s Office

Five days after Ryan Scott Blinston finished pruning trees at Loreen and Homer Severs in California last May, the 37-year-old decided to go back and take care of a few unfinished business.

After breaking into the elderly couple’s home in Los Molinos, about two hours outside of Sacramento, Blinston cut their throats – instantly killing Loreen, 88, authorities said. While her 91-year-old husband miraculously survived, the attack marked the start of a gruesome two-month crime spree, in which Blinston allegedly killed two other people he was targeting while working for a service tree pruning.

“This case is different from the other homicides that we have dealt with. There was no fight, no abandoned lover, no drug trafficking gone wrong. None of these murders were anything like this, ”Tehama County District Attorney Matthew D. Rogers told The Daily Beast on Thursday. “These were just purely random attacks by defenseless people.”

At one point during a multi-county investigation into the murder spree, Rogers said he recalled a time “when we were like wow, we can have a serial killer on our hands.

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The Butte County and Tehama County District Attorney’s Offices on Wednesday announced multiple counts, including murder and attempted murder, against Blinston for the bloody series of crimes. In addition to the May 23, 2020 murder of Severs and the attempted murder of her husband, who died of natural cases last year, Blinston was charged with the death of Sandra George, 82, and a 57-year-old acquaintance in June 2020. -old Vicky Cline, both from Oroville. Prosecutors also charged Blinston with arson, for allegedly setting Cline’s car on fire.

Blinston, who is due in court on Thursday, was arrested about a week after Cline went missing last June – when he allegedly tried to kill another individual with an ax – and has been in jail since.

A criminal complaint obtained by The Daily Beast includes special conviction allegations that he “used a deadly and dangerous weapon … a sharp tool”, attacked an elderly victim and murdered several people.

Authorities say less than two weeks after Blinston attacked the Severs, he focused on his next target while working on a tree-pruning crew. After the crew left George’s Oroville property for the day of June 4, Blinston reportedly returned home and fatally slit her throat.

Just two days later, Cline, who worked as a waitress and had apparently changed her life after going through unspecified hard times, was last seen with Blinston, authorities said. Later that night, his car was destroyed in a fire.

“[You’re] so beautiful cousin! one of Cline’s family wrote on Facebook in 2012, eight years before his murder. “Thanks! I cleaned up my act and am doing much better,” Cline replied. “I feel like old Vicky again,” she added in another post.

In a joint statement released Thursday by the Butte County and Tehama County District Attorney’s Offices, authorities said: “Evidence of blood and DNA on and in Blinston’s car has been compared to Cline.”

A Butte County Sheriff’s SWAT team followed Blinston to an RV in a secluded area on June 14 with the intention of arresting him for setting Cline’s car on fire. But when officers approached the motorhome, they heard the muffled cries of a man coming from inside and the sounds of loud banging.

“The hit turned out to be Blinston trying to get into the camper van with an ax,” the prosecutor’s statement said.

Blinston, who had met the 50-year-old motorhome owner that day, stayed home after telling the man he was afraid to leave after dark if he was attacked. ‘bear. He tried to outrun the police, but was quickly caught hiding in large brush nearby, a hatchet still in his hand, and jailed.

The motorhome owner told authorities he was asleep and woke up to find Blinston attacking him with a knife, according to Butte County District Attorney Michael L. Ramsey. After Blinston cut his victim’s neck off, the man – whose imminent disappearance was almost certainly averted by the police raid – managed to get Blinston out of the camper van and lock the door, Ramsey said .

The man was airlifted to a hospital for treatment and survived.

His body was found in a storage unit years ago. The cops finally know who she is.

Authorities say that on June 21, 2020, a fisherman from the River Feather finally discovered Cline’s body. His throat was slit in the same manner “in accordance with other victim killings.”

“The guy is a hell of a thing and he should be executed, ultimately,” Tom Dowd, a retired agricultural biologist who has lived his entire life in nearby Durham, Calif., Told The Daily Beast. “It’s an agricultural country, for most conservatives there are all kinds of people in the hills like this guy – all kinds of drug related activity, meth, they’re kind of isolated, far away. law enforcement. This stuff happens all the time in the hills here. This is madness.

Sergeant Patrick McNelis and Detective Vaj Thao of the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, the lead investigators in the case, were unable to comment. Meghan McMahon, the Butte County Sheriff’s public information officer, declined to comment on behalf of the department. Family members of the victims did not immediately respond to the comments.

For Rogers, the charges against Blinston mark the beginning of the end of one of the “most shocking cases” he has encountered in his career.

“The victims were well loved in the community and the hard part is that these crimes really came out of nowhere. No theft or burglary – he was just going to come in, slit their throats and leave, ”he added.

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