By Grace Wong
COLUMBIA, Mo. (Court TV) — A Missouri woman was sentenced Monday after being convicted of killing her snake breeder husband.
In Dec., Lynlee Renick, 33, was convicted in the June 2017 shooting death of Ben Renick. Prosecutors argued Lynlee recruited her ex-boyfriend, Michael Humphrey, to help kill Ben after an attempted poisoning failed to kill him.
Humphrey was tried first, and convicted of first-degree murder. After his trial, he turned State’s evidence, led investigators to the gun he says was used in the shooting, and agreed to testify against Lynlee in exchange for the possibility of parole. During the trial, Lynlee testified that Humphrey shot and killed Ben.
Despite Humphrey’s testimony suggesting Lynlee planned and executed her husband’s murder with a contact shot to the head, the jury found her guilty of the lesser charge of second-degree murder. They recommended she serve 13 years for the murder, and 3 years for armed criminal action.
The jury’s recommendation was only 3 years more than the minimum and far short of the 30 years the prosecutors sought to impose. Judge Kevin Crane cannot hand down a punishment harsher than the terms the jury recommended. However, he must decide whether the sentences should be served concurrently or consecutively.
Defense attorneys will likely argue her lack of criminal history makes her eligible for a concurrent sentence of no more than 13 years. Under Missouri laws, Lynlee must serve 85% of her term before she becomes eligible for parole.
The court is expected to her from Sam Renick, the victim’s older brother. During her trial, Lynlee admitted she steered police to Sam as a possible suspect. After Ben’s death, she sold the Renick family’s 72-acre property, forcing Sam to move from his home and the land that his family had owned for decades.
Following Lynlee’s sentencing, Sam is reportedly preparing for another court battle. The father of three wants custody of his niece and nephew, Ben’s biological daughter and stepson.