How I Caught My Killer (2023) s01e08 Episode Script

There might be a target on your back.


I can feel you finding ways ♪
NARRATOR: When you
deal with snakes,
there's a good chance
you'll get bit.

BEN RENICK: Welcome to the
basement of Renick Reptiles.
This is a T Positive
Albino Green Anaconda.
NARRATOR: Ben Renick
makes a killing
breeding pythons
and anacondas
- Here we have a normal sunset.
have a 29 year old
at the top of the game
of the reptile world.
NARRATOR: until his obsession
ends in horror.
[woman weeping]

NARRATOR: But there
were far more snakes
in Ben's life than
just reptiles.
- Well, I think everybody is
a suspect in the beginning.
NARRATOR: And no one knew
that a little poisonous joke
would be laced with venom.
- I think those messages
were really crucial.
We've got evidence right here.

Theme music playing ♪
MAN 1: She solved
her own murder
from beyond the grave.
MAN 2: The fitness
app on the phone,
it was overwhelming evidence.
I've been haunted
by the visions ♪
That I've seen
with my own eyes ♪
And the only way to find you ♪
Is to go beneath the lies ♪

MAN: She did help
catch this killer.

NARRATOR: This is New
Florence, Missouri,
Ben Renick's hometown.
[birds chirping]
It's where this 29 year old
is amassing a fortune
in snakes.

But on June 8th, 2017

His success story
turns tragic.
[keypad beeping rapidly]
[Lynlee weeping]

LUCAS: My name
is Lucas Geisler.

I am a news anchor and
investigative reporter
for ABC 17 News, KMIZ
in Columbia, Missouri.

is 26 years old
and three years on the job
when he in the small community
of New Florence changes forever.
- It was certainly one
of the bigger stories
that I've ever covered
and maybe one of the biggest
ones I ever will cover.

You got a guy at
the top of his game
in the reptile breeding world.
LUCAS: A beloved
figure killed,
struck down in his prime.
- I thought there's gotta be
something strange going on here.

older brother Sam
thought the same thing.
SAM RENICK: On June 8th,
I was working at the farm.
[phone line ringing]

That's when I got the call
from Ben's wife Lynlee.
[Lynlee screaming indistinctly]
She called hysterical,
so I headed towards
the snake facility.

She led me to the body.

When I found Ben's
body, he was face down.

I had to turn him
over to check him.

He was a mess.

NARRATOR: What police
will be walking into
is horrifying.

way for someone
to find their kid brother.

- He deserves much better.

He could have done anything.
He had his whole
life ahead of him.
Lay it down ♪
Lay it down ♪
Lay it down ♪
On me ♪
On me ♪
NARRATOR: Ben and Sam grew up
on the Renick Family
Farm in New Florence.
Talk it out, talk it out ♪
Talk it out ♪
Just breathe ♪
- Ben and I as young kids.

Ben was a big fan of
snakes at a young age.

He was out in the wilderness
catching snakes all the time.
Lay your head
upon my shoulder ♪
And he managed to turn that
passion into a business.
Hold me closer ♪
NARRATOR: As Ben's work
in the reptile world grew,
so did his reputation.
name's Cheryl Metula.
I work with exotic animals,
primarily reptiles.

Ben was introduced to me as one of
the largest ball python breeders,
the most well-known one
across the entire world.

became friends
with Ben and his wife Lynlee

And got to know
both of them well.

- Lynlee was probably
the sweetest person ever.

She was extremely kind.

They just seemed so in love.

name is Bobbette Tucker.

Ben was so happy.

We fell in love with
her just like Ben did.
She was a perfect
partner for him.
Lynlee have busy lives
with two kids and
two businesses.
Renick Reptiles and a spa
that Lynlee operates
in Columbia, Missouri.
- They're a young, attractive family
with seemingly everything going for them.

They live in the big country
estate out in Missouri
doing this quirky business
that is netting them a literal
million dollar sum to do this.

Ben's anacondas
are 12 to 15 feet long
and weigh more than 400 pounds.

Large enough to be lethal.
SAM: When I saw Ben's
head the way that it was,
his skull had been crushed.
In my mind, the only thing
that could have happened
would've been an
accident with the snakes.


NARRATOR: When sheriff's
deputies and EMTs arrive,
they think a killer
snake is on the loose.
[Lynlee crying]
NARRATOR: Ben's wife
Lynlee doesn't think
a snake is responsible
for his death.
[Lynlee crying]

[Lynlee crying]
NARRATOR: Deputies
find themselves
inside a horror movie
NARRATOR: looking for
a missing and anaconda.
[Lynlee crying]
OFFICER 2: Where's the victim?

- Ben, that's Ben Renick.
MAN: Uh-huh.
NARRATOR: Officers find Ben,
but don't find any evidence of
a killer snake on the loose.
MAN: He's not under there.
NARRATOR: But they do spot
evidence on Ben's body.

coroner is sent in.

And soon,
what seems like a
fatal snake attack
[camera shutter clicks]

Becomes far more mysterious.
More sinister.
[camera shutter clicks]
SAM: At that point in time,
we were outside the facility.
Then the coroner came out
and he let me know that
it was not a snake attack.

My brother had been shot.

NARRATOR: Who shot Ben Renick?
He was successful,

A rock star in the snake world.
Now everyone's a suspect.


Take a breath ♪

Family and friends are in shock
after they learn that Ben
Renick's been murdered.
But it's so much worse.

LUCAS: They found
shell casings,
bullet fragments
throughout a snake barn.

shot eight times.

SAM: His skull was crushed
by that eighth bullet.
That's why I thought it was
a snake when I first saw him,
because his head was destroyed.

NARRATOR: Who could
hate Ben enough
to pull the trigger
over and over?
[gun firing]
It's almost
impossible to believe.

- Ben Renick was incredibly
well liked by people.
NARRATOR: Members of
the reptile community
like Cheryl and Ben's
best friend Chase
desperately wanna know who
gunned down their colleague,
but there were no weapons
found at the scene.
And if authorities have
a suspect or a motive

They're not sharing.
I've been washed in
the blood of the lamb ♪
- There was a theory that
perhaps it was a robbery.
Dancing with the devil ♪
Maybe somebody just happened
to stumble upon this barn

And in a panic
killed the person there.

NARRATOR: Or was it
something more personal?

Someone hiding like
a snake in the grass.

Ben's reptiles sell for
thousands of dollars each
and he's got thousands of them.

BOBBETTE: We didn't
know if maybe somebody
from the reptile
community maybe came in.

Somebody that was looking for a fast
buck to steal some of his snakes.

Maybe he'd been taken by surprise
and it was a robbery gone bad.

NARRATOR: But within days,
those closest to Ben confirm,
no snakes were stolen
and nothing else is missing
from the reptile house.
So another theory takes shape.
Before he died,
Ben was working on a deal that
would've changed his life.
Maybe someone in Ben's circle wanted
a piece by any means necessary.

- Ben Renick had made
a million dollar deal
to sell most of his
pythons and anacondas
to a hockey player who is
going to pay the installments.
Two hundred thousand dollars every
quarter throughout the year 2017.
But around the time the
next payment was due

Ben is killed.

What becomes of these snakes,
what becomes of the money?

It seems very contentious.
Renick is possibly
one of the most meticulous
snake breeders out there.
And so how do you, how
do you maintain it?
- A lot of work. Yeah.
INTERVIEWER: A lot of work?
- Certainly when you rise
to the top of your game,
there might be a
target on your back.

Maybe a rival reptile
breeder had it out for Ben.

That Ben had something
that they wanted
so they'll go off Ben.

NARRATOR: There are people
in the snake community
who might benefit
from Ben's death.

But what about someone
closer to home?

LUCAS: Sam and Ben
did not particularly
get along well
before Ben's murder.

That relationship as it
frayed put Sam, I think,
on the lead investigative
radar as well.

NARRATOR: Sam and his family
live on the Renick property.

CHERYL: One of the last
times I spoke to Ben,
he was clearly aggravated
and venting about his brother.

There was some kinda
stress going on.
So first person I
thought of was Sam.

NARRATOR: Authorities bring
Sam in for questioning.

Ben argued over money
and ownership of the property.

Something Ben's widow Lynlee
stands by in her interview.

I've got skeletons
in my closet ♪
NARRATOR: Lynlee's not a
fan of her brother-in-law,
but what is Sam thinking
during all of this?
SAM: I was initially told that
I was a person of interest
in Ben's murder and
I needed to stay put
and I did exactly that.
Don't go snooping around ♪
NARRATOR: But what about
Lynlee, Ben's widow?
Authorities have to wonder,
could she be involved?
- Well, I think everybody is
a suspect in the beginning.
The picture's
growing clearer ♪
even tracked down
one of Lynlee's former boyfriends who
was at her spa the day of the murder.
You're closer
with every clue ♪
LUCAS: Michael
Humphrey is an ex
of Lynlee Renick.
He says he went to
Columbia to get a massage.
So that's where he said
he was on June 8th,
that he did visit the spa, he
got a massage and then he left.

NARRATOR: Humphrey
is the dead end.
Don't look back ♪
It's all questions, no answers.

The past is fading ♪
Traumatized, Lynlee
takes the kids
and moves in with her father.
What's to come ♪
But then days after Ben's death,
Lynlee makes an announcement
that throws everyone.

She wants to unload
the snake business
and the farm.

When the walls
keep falling down ♪
- Oh, God, everything was up in
the air with the farm at the time.

Ben had just taken out
a one million dollar life
insurance policy on himself
because he did not have a will.
When he was murdered all of his
assets went directly to Lynlee.

It was shortly after the murder
that I was informed though,
that I had about 30 days
to leave the property
because Lynlee
was gonna sell it.

I had a hard time with that.
We had a
That home was everything to us
and I was alone out there.
I had to make the, I
I'm glad I didn't kill myself.
Got close.

[exhales deeply]

- Oh, sorry.
- Oh. gosh, sorry.
- Gotta calm down.
NARRATOR: Sam and his family
are evicted from the house.

I see shadows on the wall ♪
NARRATOR: By the fall of 2017,
Cheryl Metula and her boyfriend
are living on the property
to look after Ben's snakes.
- I moved in to Ben's house
after Sam already left.
There was no one else there
to take care of,
uh, Ben's animals.

NARRATOR: Four months pass
since Ben Renick was killed.

But as far as finding
his murderer
- At this time, law enforcement
was not willing to talk,
not willing to share updates
other than to say the
investigation is ongoing.
A constant refrain from
the sheriff's office
and the Highway Patrol
throughout this.

Still no updates.

updates, no arrests,
no peace of mind.

Cheryl spends every day
at the Renick property
scared out of her mind.
- Living at the farm was
absolutely horrifying.

Because, you know, the
killer could come back.

NARRATOR: Turns out the killer
has been within striking
distance all along.

Humming ♪

Little drops of doubt ♪
Dripping down from ♪
My brain and my heart ♪
NARRATOR: By the fall of 2017,
police still aren't
revealing any details
about Ben Renick's murder,
but Ben's widow Lynlee
has her suspicions.
Maybe it was her
brother-in-law Sam.

SAM: Lynlee suggested
that my relationship
with the farm and
the ownership levels
and the fact that I was
gonna have to leave the farm
was motive for me
to-to hurt Ben.

NARRATOR: The whole history
of the Renick family farm
is what you would
call complicated.
Back in the '80s, Ben and
Sam's father Frank Renick
started a pet food company.
Then he bought the land
and built a big house
where he raised his two boys.
- Unfortunately,
there was a gas leak.
The house filled with
gas and it exploded

And completely
destroyed the home.

And then immediately
after that happened,
my mother was diagnosed with
stage four breast cancer.
We lost our way ♪
My father attempted to
maintain the company,
and however, with
my mother being ill,
a lot of the focus
went to-to her.
NARRATOR: Frank spent 15
years juggling the company,
the property, and his
wife's medical bills
until it all came crashing
down on June 4th, 2012.

[siren wailing]
radio]: 20-29, come in.

- Frank Renick is indicted
by a federal grand jury.

SAM: Unfortunately, he
had taken investors' money
and he used it to pay
back other investors,
and, and by the time we knew
it was, it was too late.
NARRATOR: Frank ripped
off a lot of people.
[siren wailing]

OPERATOR: [echoing] 9-1-1.
millions of dollars
and it could come
back to bite him.
- We were gonna lose
our family farm.
LUCAS: Frank wasn't
willing to let that happen.

BOBBETTE: Unfortunately,
he took his life
on Father's Day.

And Ben was the one that
found him in his home.

NARRATOR: In a desperate
attempt to salvage
something for his sons,
Frank shot himself.
So maybe Frank's scam
five years earlier,
provoked a killer to
finally seek revenge
and shoot his young son.
- It had to have been
somebody from the past
that still harbored
a lot of bad feelings
about his dad's legal problems.
Maybe one of the investors.

SAM: We definitely
thought that
that could have been an issue
that related to Ben's murder.
However, we didn't know.

NARRATOR: Until one
day in October, 2017,
four months after Ben's death.
- We had someone come to the
property looking for Sam.

We said he no longer lived
on the property, he was gone.
Then this guy said he
heard about the murder,
what happened and details,
and he apparently knew
Ben got shot in the head.

We were, of course, a little
freaked out about that.
We contacted the authorities.
NARRATOR: Suddenly
have another potential suspect.
CHERYL: It was possible
that one of Frank's investors
wanted a little bit of revenge.
The fact that one of the
"supposed investors" showed up
and knew these details
that we didn't even know.
So we were suspicious of him.

investigators search
for a scorned investor,
friends and family noticed
there's something up with Lynlee.

- I think she had wanted
to put this behind us
and start over as
she very quickly,
soon after entered into
another relationship.
NARRATOR: Lynlee's
new boyfriend
is a local man named
Brandon Blackwell.
CHERYL: You really can't
judge someone, you know,
you lost the love of your life.
You need that, you need
some kind of comfort there.
in January, 2018,
seven months after Ben's death,
Lynlee dropped some crazy news.
- She's like, just so you're
not surprised, I'm pregnant.
BOBBETTE: And I'm like, "Wow."
You know.
And we were, we
were quite shocked.
CHERYL: So Lynlee
and Brandon ended up
getting their own
little townhouse,
but she was looking a lot healthier
now that she was pregnant.

appears to be moving on
while the investigation
into Ben's murder
is stuck in place.
- I'm constantly
in touch with Sam
or a couple of the Highway
Patrolmen that I know personally.
We've been asking, you know,
what's going on
with Ben's murder?
Where's the investigation?

[indistinct police
radio chatter]
If you don't catch a murder
right away, it goes cold.
And so we were really
worried that this somebody
has gotten away with murder.

NARRATOR: Months turn
into two and a half years
of frustration, grief, pain.
Then in early January, 2020,
investigators get lucky.
Lynlee's boyfriend Brandon
Blackwell is arrested
on criminal charges,
including stalking.
And for years of nothing
comes something big.

LUCAS: On January 14th, 2020,
Brandon Blackwell claims
to have information
about Ben Renick's murder.

In the tug I feel
it come to life ♪
The way it grows
inside of me ♪
NARRATOR: Two and a half years
after the murder of Ben Renick,
there's a break
in his cold case.

Lynlee's boyfriend Brandon
Blackwell has just been arrested.
[indistinct chatter]
And he's got a secret to share.
He says he knows who killed Ben.

- It was because of
Brandon coming forward
that we were able to get the
case finally moving again.
NARRATOR: Brandon has a baby
with Ben's widow Lynlee Renick.
But after their child is born,
the relationship blows up
and Lynlee files a
restraining order against him.

- So Brandon Blackwell has his
own legal troubles to worry about.
NARRATOR: He's charged
with two counts
of first degree stalking
and five counts of violating
a restraining order.

LUCAS: He's in jail with
a pretty significant bond.
For violating the protection order
that Lynlee took out against him
and in a moment
of incarceration,
had something to give in
order to get something.

NARRATOR: Over the course of
Brandon's relationship with Lynlee,
he'd ask her about Ben's murder
and something felt

- He tells Missouri State
Highway Patrol investigators
that Lynlee had shot Ben.

[cocks gun]

[gun firing]

- Brandon said Lynlee
was the one who did it.
Brandon lying?

Trying to fire back at Lynlee
for getting him thrown in jail?
[door buzzes]
Why would Lynlee kill Ben?

- He had just sold his snakes
for almost a million dollars.

He, according to the bank,
was the sole owner
of that property.
And so when that happened,
everything went to Lynlee.
I'm on a mission, I'm about
my business, I gotta get it ♪
Between the life
insurance money
I'm on a mission, I'm about
my business, I gotta get it ♪
a million dollars.
The sale of snakes,
a million dollars
and about a million
dollar family farm.
She was set to inherit
I'm on a mission, I'm about
my business, I gotta get it ♪

Quite a bit after
my brother's death.

NARRATOR: Inheriting
money isn't a crime,
but it can be one
hell of a motive.
[indistinct police
radio chatter]
BOBBETTE: We wanted
to still believe that,
you know, she was
innocent of everything.

tells investigators
not to take his word for it.
Then he gives police two names.
Ashley Shaw and Rachel Hunt.
They worked for
Lynlee at her spa.
- Hi, I'm Ashley,
I'm the spa manager.
- I'm Rachel and I'm one
of the estheticians here.
- And it wasn't until after that
that the police had reached out
to Ashley Shaw and Rachel Hunt.

You got something to hide ♪
Secrets behind these lies ♪
CHERYL: So Ashley
Shaw and Rachel Hunt
have the same story
that Lynlee admitted
she pulled the trigger.
LUCAS: Ashley Shaw has
essentially told police
that she knew about
Lynlee's plot to kill Ben.
I see trouble ♪
And in fact helped her
with certain aspects of it.
Trouble ♪
The state has given her immunity
from first degree murder charges
in exchange for giving
up this information.
NARRATOR: The plot
includes a name
that rings a bell
with investigators,
someone police questioned
right after Ben was shot.
Lynlee Renick's ex-boyfriend,
Michael Humphrey.

LUCAS: In June of 2017,
Highway Patrol
interviews Michael
and they start asking him,
"Do you know Lynlee Renick?

Were you with her on
June 8th of 2017?"

NARRATOR: At the time,
Michael claimed he got a
massage at Lynlee's spa
the day Ben was killed
and then he went home.

In 2017,
police had no reason
to hold Michael,
so they let him go.

[door buzzes]
In 2020,
not so much.

- My name is Michael Humphrey.
And I'm currently housed
in the Jefferson City
Correctional Center.

NARRATOR: Michael now
admits he went to the farm
with Lynlee the day Ben died.

Lynlee was filling me in
on some different abuse
situations that was going on
with her and Ben.
From physical altercations to
different sexual altercations.

She was like, "Can you
go out there with me?
I need somebody that I trust."

Then she ends up telling me that
she's going to try to kill him
or wants somebody
to try to kill him.

afternoon of June 8th,
Michael says he picked
Lynlee up at the spa
and they drove to the farm.

About 45 minutes away.

MICHAEL: We're out there
in the middle of nowhere.

I figure she's
gonna go down there
and have her conversation
that she needs to have.

I'm more locked in on that there's
a whole lot of snakes to this.

And then the next thing I
hear is a gunshot go off.

When I look up, I see
her posed up like this
with a firearm in her hand.

On the way out the door, I hear
another two or three shots.
[gun firing]

After I'm outside,
another one or two.
[gun firing]

Later I'm told there
was eight total.
NARRATOR: Humphrey
swears up and down
he had nothing to
do with Ben's death.
- Never meant for
anybody to get hurt.
I don't know the guy.
I don't have any bad intentions
for the guy whatsoever.
January 16th, 2020,
two and a half years after
Ben Renick is gunned down,
police are finally
ready to make a move.

SAM: So Michael and Lynlee
were both arrested and charged
for first degree murder.

The mystery in you
just pulls me in ♪

- My ex-boyfriend
got a phone call
that Lynlee was being arrested.

Can't you see my eyes? ♪
I'm hypnotized ♪
When he told me that, I
cried, um, I felt horrible.
It still didn't make sense.
- I just couldn't believe
it, It just broke my heart.
Knowing how their
relationship was,
knowing Lynlee and
how sweet and loving
and she, she is not
the Lynlee I knew.
I'm under your spell again ♪

[phone ringing]
it's not so easy.
Investigators have confessions
and eyewitness accounts,
but little to no hard evidence.

Who really pulled the trigger?

So they look at every
bit of information
they've collected on Ben Renick,
including his phone records.
- They had the messages that
they were able to look at,
text messages between
Ben and his friend Chase.
NARRATOR: Chase and
Ben are great friends.
They text each other
nearly every day
and in those text messages,
a disturbing conspiracy
comes into focus.
A calculating plot with poison.
- May 24th of 2017.
"I have a fun story.
"Food poisoning is dumb.
Or just poisoning."
NARRATOR: And Ben believes
Lynlee is the one
who poisoned him.
I literally think y'all were
poisoned at this point."
Ben, "Agreed.
Or it was Lynlee all along."

- Once the police
took a closer look,
they realized there
was more there.
It was definitely a red flag.

[keypad beeping rapidly]
OPERATOR: 9-1-1. What's the
address of the emergency?
NARRATOR: Did Lynlee Renick
finish what she started
with eight bullets?

NARRATOR: In a series of
texts before his murder,
Ben Renick offers clues
about who wanted him dead.
Now I've been haunting ♪
Wrapping my arms around you ♪
NARRATOR: The clues
point to his wife Lynlee.
But first a little backstory.
Only death knows ♪

Are you afraid, are
you afraid of dying? ♪
It begins about two weeks
before Ben is killed.
- May 23rd, 2017.
Lynlee had told a spa
employee Ashley Shaw
that Ben had been abusive.
Lynlee never filed any police reports
about the alleged physical abuse.

Ashley felt sorry for Lynlee
and wanted to help her.
Ashley and Lynlee got about
12 to 15 Percocet pills.

And their plan was to grind
up the Percocet pills

And put them in a smoothie.

Lynlee gave it to Ben
under the guise of,
"Could you please
try this shake?
We're thinking of
selling it to customers."

Shortly after Ben and
Lynlee both drink the shake,
Ben becomes very ill.
[retching and coughing]
- If he hadn't thrown up,
he probably would've died.

NARRATOR: Ben tells his
friend Chase what happened.
LUCAS: May 24th of 2017.
"Why would she do
it to herself too?
"Maybe the customer gave
it to you and laughed
because they dislike
their service."
Ben, "Right?
"Maybe, who knows why.
She didn't seem as
bad as me, so"
From Chase,
"LMAO. Lighter dose."
From Ben,
"Besides, she needs the deal
"to pan out first before I die,
"she would walk away
with legit three mil
"before selling property
for another mil.
"If I died next year,
"Lynlee would be set for life.

deal calls for Ben
to be paid in installments.
SAM: Ben was in the
process of selling
a large majority of his
snakes to a-a major buyer
and Ben had received
payments in part
for the first half
of this transaction
and the other rest
of the transaction
should have just
sailed right through.
However, when Ben
was murdered, um,
it was renegotiated.
This murder had everything
to do with money.
Truth be told, I'm leaving ♪
You're so cruel, you're
the devil in disguise ♪
Death on the path
you're leading ♪
I've seen the
madness in your eyes ♪
NARRATOR: Now Lynlee and her
ex-boyfriend Michael Humphrey
both face charges of
first degree murder.

But only one of them shot Ben.
- Humphrey claims that
Lynlee is the one that
pulled the trigger,
while Lynlee claims that Michael Humphrey
is the one that pulled the trigger.

goes on trial first
in October, 2021.
More than four years
after Ben's death.
LUCAS: The state
says Michael knows
what they're going to go and do,
that under the law
he bears as much
legal responsibility
for the charge of first
degree murder, as does Lynlee,
who the state says
pulled the trigger.

NARRATOR: The defense argues
Michael only drove
Lynlee to the farm,
that he never
planned to hurt Ben.
- So I took it upon myself to
bring her a firearm that I'd had.
When I went into the spa
that day and I told her,
"You could use this
for self-defense."
And then I gave
her that firearm.

CHERYL: I do not believe
Humphrey saying that
he went there not knowing
what was gonna happen.

I genuinely believe he did go there
with a full, you know, intent to do it
and she ended up just
doing it herself.

[gun firing]


NARRATOR: The jury
deliberates for a few hours
before returning a verdict.

Michael Humphrey is guilty
of first degree murder.

- When they first initially
announced the verdict, disbelief,
a hundred percent disbelief.

- The state had waived the
death penalty in this case.
He has only one
sentence he can receive
and that his life in
prison without parole.
[rattles, thuds]
- It's a lot to take in.

You're never going home.

- His fate's been sealed
with this conviction.

NARRATOR: Two months later,
Lynlee Renick
murder trial begins.
LUCAS: This is the person
they say pulled the trigger.
This is Ben's wife,
this is the state trying
to prove who did this.
If they can't prove this,
then what is their
theory anyway?
[camera shutter clicks]
SAM: During the trial,
it came out that Ben and Lynlee
had fought over the finances
of the spa, which
weren't going well.
I believe she's pulling
money out of the spa
for personal use
and-and other things,
things that Ben
didn't even know about
and that he was going to be informed of
that by the bank prior to the murder.

LUCAS: These financial issues
are a huge part of the case
because it also speaks
to what motive Lynlee may
have had to kill Ben Renick.
If he's questioning her business
acumen, hounding her about money
and that might upset
someone to the point
that they maybe wanna
kill that person.
NARRATOR: Prosecutors
also reveal
Lynlee's history of cheating.
were together.
- Right.
NARRATOR: This wasn't
the fairytale marriage
everyone thought it was.
- During the marriage
she had numerous affairs.

SAM: She had a very active
Ashley Madison account
while she was married
to my brother.

And she was involved in multiple
affairs prior to the murder.
CHERYL: And they just
always seemed happy.
It just warps your reality.
NARRATOR: And then
another surprise,
the defense calls
their star witness.
LUCAS: It's not often that
somebody takes the stand
in their own defense.
Play along with the game ♪
- Hey, I'm Lynlee Renick.
Do whatever it takes ♪
SAM: When she
got on the stand,
she knew exactly
what she was doing.
- Ben started really,
getting really upset
about all of the time that
I was focusing on the kids
instead of dedicating it
to him and Renick Reptiles.
- Lynlee testified that
she had gone out
there with Michael
to confront Ben about a divorce.
- Michael turned around and
I saw a gun in his hands
and then I heard shots.

And everything just went numb.
Who did we become? ♪

SAM: And then she
was so distraught,
she got back in the car with him
and went about her day.
Continuing to text
Michael, other people.

She even put it on a show for
the school to pick up the kids.
She covered her tracks
before and after the murder.
ATTORNEY: Do you regret it?
- Yes.
CHERYL: She was the "woe
is me, I'm the victim."
To me that was a complete show.
Complete BS.
BOBBETTE: Both sides
rested their case
and the jury goes out to look
over all of the evidence.
And we're feeling
pretty confident.

You know, that she's
gonna get life.

And the longer, the
more hours go by,
the more concerned
we're getting.
NARRATOR: In the Show-Me
state of Missouri,
juries can convict for
first degree murder
or settle on a lesser offense.
Juries also determine the
sentence for any reduced charge.
So when the decision
finally arrives,
everyone is holding
their breath.
- The jury in
Lynlee Renick's case
says that she was guilty of
murder in the second degree.

SAM: They gave her 13 years,
just over the minimum of ten
and three years for
armed criminal action.
JUDGE: I don't know
what they were thinking.
Somehow they got confused.
You're awful lucky, ma'am.
You're gonna get
out in your 40s,
and my 40s weren't too bad.
I just hope you
don't kill again.
That's it.
Turn down the lights ♪
NARRATOR: In a way, Sam
Renick was right all along.

NARRATOR: His little brother
was killed by a snake.

- It's tough, I mean, she would've
gotten more years in prison
if she had walked in there and
killed all of those snakes.
Eight bullets into my
brother's 29-year-old body.
He deserved better.

MICHAEL: In the long
run at this point,
I'm the one sitting
here on a life sentence
while she has 13 years.
That's that's

NARRATOR: Despite her
sentence, in the end,
Ben was able to catch his killer
through the messages
he left behind.

- It was a crucial part of the case in
keeping Lynlee squarely in their sights
and obviously played a
huge part in the trial.

SAM: Lynlee's gonna
be out someday.
I want her to know that
she'll never be free of this.
I won't forget and I don't
want others to, either.

I don't know where
my head is lately ♪
Have I lost my mind? ♪

But I know that
I have a secret ♪
And it's only mine ♪

And the only way to find me ♪
Is to go beneath the lies ♪

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