Ryan Scott Blinston, 37, of Oroville in Norther California, is charged with murder, attempted murder and arson in throat-slashing serial killings last spring
The California based ex-con who worked for a tree trimming service is accused of slitting throat of Loreen Severs, 88, killing her, and injuring her 91-year-old husband, Homer, who died of an illness months later
Blinston also is accused of killing Sandra George, 82, on June 4 and acquaintance Vicky Cline, 57, on June 6 He tried covering his tracks by torching Cline’s car, but a fisherman found her body in a river on June 14
DNA evidence left on the body and inside the suspect’s car tied Blinston to the crime and he was arrested hours later
He was arrested as he was trying to break into the motorhome of a fifth victim with a hatchet – the man had survived a knife slashing attack and managed to kick him out of the home
Officers arrived just on time to save the besieged man having tracked the suspect due to DNA evidence left behind, in the killing of Vicky Cline
Blinston previous felonies, include arrests in 2013 for driving a stolen Lexus, being in possession of three guns taken in burglaries and serving time at the Pleasant Valley State Prison in 2017
An crew member of a tree-trimming service based in rural Northern California has been charged with slashing the throats of three of his elderly customers, before he was caught trying to kill a fourth person with a hatchet.
Ryan Scott Blinston, 37, who trims trees for a living, was employed by a tree-trimming service in Butte and Tehama counties, north of Sacramento, last May and June, when he allegedly returned to the homes of several elderly customers and murdered them.
Among the victims Loreen Severs, 88, of Los Molinos, died in the knife attack of May 23. Her 91-year-old husband, Homer Severs, survived the stabbing, but died that December of an unrelated illness, authorities said. he had worked on the couples property earlier along with other employees of the tree trimming work crew.
Blinston also is accused of killing another customer Sandra George, 82, of Oroville, on June 4. after being part of the crew that worked on her property.
In a third case according to the authorities, Blinston murdered an acquaintance, Vicky Cline, 57, also of Oroville, by slashing her throat. He then torched Cline’s car in an apparent attempt to cover his tracks, police said.
A week after Cline went missing, Blinston was literally caught in the act. Officers arriving to arrest Blinston, interrupted what could have been a fourth murder after they found the suspect attacking another male victim in his motorhome with a hatchet.
Blinston was charged on Wednesday with murder, attempted murder and arson, with special sentencing recommendations for allegations he used a deadly weapon, attacked an elderly victim and committed multiple killings.
He was scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on Thursday and could face life in prison without possibility of parole if convicted.
Blinston allegedly, killed Cline by slashing her throat on June 6, 2020 before trying to cover his tracks with arson. On June 21, 2020, a fisherman discovered Cline’s body in the Feather River near Belden, Plumas County, California. Her throat was slashed. Investigators found that blood and DNA outside and inside Blinston’s car matched back to Cline.
Blinston had been in jail since he was arrested last year June and charged in another neck-cutting, authorities said.
Blinston was arrested before dawn on June 14 – about a week after Cline vanished, by a Butte County sheriff’s SWAT team that had tracked him to a motorhome in heavily wooded and isolated Berry Creek. Authorities had planned to arrest him on suspicion of burning Cline’s car, prosecutors said.
Police say they were able to track him down thanks to evidence he left at the scene at Cline’s murder.
‘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,’ said a joint statement from the Butte County and Tehama County district attorney’s offices, which filed the charges in Butte County Superior Court.
‘As the team approached the motorhome, they heard the muffled screams of a man inside and loud banging on the outside of the motorhome. The banging turned out to be Blinston attempting to get into the motorhome with a hatchet,’ the district attorneys’ statement said.
As officers approached the suspect fled into the woods. He did not obey orders to drop the hatchet and was captured after a short struggle. Police had to deploy a stun gun and pepper spray to subdue him.
Blinston had met the 50-year-old owner of the motorhome earlier then stayed over because he told the man he was afraid to leave after dark because of bears, the resident told authorities.
The man said he was sleeping when he awoke to find Blinston attacking him with a knife, Butte County District Attorney Michael L. Ramsey said.
Blinston slashed his neck but the man said he was able to kick him out of the motorhome and lock the door, Ramsey said.
A medic treated the seriously injured man and he was airlifted to a hospital.
The SWAT team may have saved the man’s life, Ramsey said, because the isolated area had no cell phone service and it was unlikely anyone would have heard the man’s cries for help.
Blinston pled not guilty to attempted murder in that case last year.
There was no immediate word on a motive. Blinston has previous felonies, including arrests in 2013 for driving a stolen Lexus, being in possession of three guns taken in burglaries and serving time at the Pleasant Valley State Prison in 2017.
Despite his list of felonies, however, none of his previous arrests involved the level of violence seen in the attacks, the DA’s office said.