Calif. Tree-Trimmer Charged with Murder After He Allegedly Killed 3 by Slashing Their Throats
“We will be able to seek justice for the victims and ensure no one else will be harmed,” District Attorney Mike Ramsey and District Attorney Matt Rogers said
A man from Northern Calif. has been charged with the murders of three individuals whom police say he allegedly killed by cutting their throats.
In addition to the murder charges, Ryan Scott Blinston, who is from Butte County, was also charged on Wednesday for the attempted murder of one of the spouses of a victim.
Blinston, 37, was a worker for a tree trimming business and serviced the lawns of two of his alleged victims before returning to murder them, Butte County District Attorney office said in a press release.
The Butte County resident is accused of the murder of Loreen Severs, 88, and the attempted murder of her husband Homer Severs, 91; the murder of Sandra George, 82; and the murder of Vicky Cline, 57, the District Attorneys said. Blinston was also charged for alleged arson of Cline's car.
A GoFundMe page was set up to aid Cline's family.
On the page, a friend wrote, "Her absence has left a gaping hole in the broken hearts of her 3 surviving children and extended family. She was loved so fiercely by those who knew her closely, for she was a strong willed and free spirited soul whose light was too bright to stifle, and is still shining down on us now."
A multi-agency investigation decided that all of the cases will be tried together at Butte County Superior Court.
Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey and Tehama County District Attorney Matt Rogers are seeking a life without the possibility of parole sentence for Blinston, according to the press release.
"Through the combined efforts of law enforcement agencies in both Tehama and Butte Counties, we will be able to seek justice for the victims and ensure no one else will be harmed," District Attorney's Ramsey and Rogers said.
Blinston is already in jail without bail for the attempted murder of a resident living in a heavily isolated area. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in 2020, court records viewed by PEOPLE show. His trial is scheduled to take place in June.
The new charges stem from instances prior to his arrest.
Officials allege Blinston was working for a tree-trimming service at the Severs' home on May 18, 2020.
Days later, on May 23, 2020, he allegedly "killed Loreen and attempted to kill Homer after a forced entry into their home. Both had their throats cut. Homer survived the attack, but later died of an unrelated illness in December of 2020," according to the District Attorney's office.
The following month on June 4, 2020, the defendant did a tree-trimming service at George's home. After the worker crew left, Blinston returned to her home to allegedly kill her, the District Attorney's allege. Her throat was also slashed, officials said.
Cline, "an acquaintance of Blinston," was last seen on June 6, 2020 with the defendant, officials said.
"An arson fire destroyed Cline's car later that night. Blood and DNA evidence on and in Blinston's car was forensically matched back to Cline. Her body was later discovered by a fisherman in the Feather River near Belden on June 21, 2020. Damage to her throat was consistent with the other victim murders," the District Attorney's Office said.
The defendant's arraignment is scheduled for May 13. It is not clear if Blinston has obtained legal representation or has entered a plea at this time.
Blinston was arrested on June 14, 2020 by Butte County Sheriff's SWAT team who received a tip of his location.
He was accused of the attempted murder of a 50-year-old man who lived in an "isolated motorhome in a heavily wooded and isolated area of Brush Creek," the press release stated.
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"The motorhome resident later told officers he was asleep in his bed when Blinston suddenly attacked him and cut his throat. The resident was able to kick Blinston out of the motorhome and lock the door, but Blinston was attempting to get back in the motorhome when the SWAT team coincidently arrived," according to the District Attorney's office. That resident survived.