In June 2017, Ben Renick was found shot to death at his snake breeding facility in New Florence, Missouri. But the investigation went nowhere because of a distinct lack of evidence. A few years later, a prison inmate told police he knew who killed Ben, pointing the finger at Lynlee Renick, the wife. NBC’s ‘Dateline: Venom’ and Hulu’s ‘How I Caught My Killer: There Might Be a Target on Your Back’ chronicles how the police then uncovered a plot to kill Ben that eventually led to Lynlee’s conviction. So, let’s find out what happened then, shall we?
Who is Lynlee Renick?
Lynlee Jo Gallatin married Benjamin “Ben” Renick in 2014, and the couple lived together with their daughter and her son from a previous relationship. According to her accounts, at around 5:45 pm on June 8, 2017, she received a message from the school saying the kids weren’t picked up. This worried her because Ben should’ve already done it, so she later went to his facility, only to find him dead, leading to a frantic 911 call.
Initially, it was believed that a snake crushed Ben, but the authorities found shell casings on the scene, making it a murder investigation. Yet, the case only picked up the pace a few years later when Brandon Blackwell, Lynlee’s ex following Ben’s death and the father of one of her children, claimed she’s admitted to killing her husband. Soon, the police learned that she wasn’t alone in the plan and was helped by two others: Ashley Shaw and Michael Humphrey.
Through the investigation, officials found out that Lynlee had tried to kill Ben once in the past. A few weeks before the murder, she had given him a painkiller Percocet-laced protein drink, but that had only made him sick. Ashley Shaw, an employee at Lynlee’s struggling spa business, had helped her with it. Once this plan failed, though, Lynlee talked to a former boyfriend named Michael about helping her get rid of Ben, and he agreed upon hearing her reasoning.
Ashley and Michael later claimed they helped Lynlee because she’d insisted Ben was sexually abusive. Therefore, per their accounts, on June 8, 2017, Michael and Lynlee drove to Ben’s breeding facility to “confront him,” but it soon lead to murder. During Lynlee’s trial, he claimed to have seen her with his gun in her hand, fire, and hear more gunshots as he fled the scene. In a deal with the prosecution for a lighter sentence, Michael led the police to the murder weapon as well.
At this December 2021 trial, Lynlee testified in her defense as well. Stating her innocence, she admitted to being at the facility when Ben was shot to death but vehemently insisted Michael was responsible for it. Lynlee said she went there to talk to Ben regarding divorce and had Michael with her for support. She said, “I walked up right behind Michael, and then Michael turned around, and I saw a gun in his hands, and I screamed and ran outside.” Then, Lynlee stated she ran to the car and believed something violent happened when Michael came later and urged her to get into the car.
Where is Lynlee Renick Now?
The prosecution claimed that Lynlee’s motive was money because her business was struggling, and she stood to gain from Ben’s million-dollar life insurance policy, his million-dollar property, and his million-dollar business. They presented text evidence between Lynlee and Michael on the day of the murder. In addition, there were texts that she sent to Ben after he died, with the prosecution saying Lynlee did it despite knowing that Ben was no more.
During her testimony, Lynlee admitted to lying to the police initially and said, “I lied a lot, and I understand … how this looks. I stuck with that story and never let go of it. I don’t know how to fully express that I never wanted my husband dead.” In the end, the jury found Lynlee guilty of second-degree murder and armed criminal action. In January 2022, then about 33 years old, she was sentenced to 13 years for the homicide charge, plus an additional three years for the other count. Therefore, today, in her mid-30s, Lynlee is incarcerated at the mix-security Chillicothe Correctional Center for women in Chillicothe, Livingston County, Missouri,
Read More: Where is Michael Humphrey Now?