Cult leader Michael Ryan was sentenced to death for the torture death of one of his followers, and the beating death of the 5-year old son of another cult member.
Category: Michael W. Ryan
The cult leader’s defense attorney had argued in part that Michael W. Ryan could not be executed by lethal injection because he was sentenced to die in the electric chair.
Ryan, the leader of a cult-like White Supremacist survivalist group, sentenced to death in September 1985 after he was convicted in the murders of two members of the group, including a 5-year-old boy.
The Nebraska attorney general’s office has asked the state Supreme Court Thursday to schedule an execution date for former cult leader Michael Ryan, who was condemned for the torture and slaying of a man in 1985 at Ryan’s compound near Rulo.
Ryan’s execution would be the first in Nebraska since 1997 and its first by lethal injection.
“If there’s anyone that should die of the death penalty, it would be Michael Ryan,” Kelle said, “but I don’t feel that we have the right to say who should live or die.”
LINCOLN, Neb. — An appeal by one-time cult leader Michael Ryan in a 1985 torture-slaying on a farm near Rulo was rejected Friday by a federal appeals court. In doing so, the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld and earlier ruling by the Nebraska Supreme Court. Ryan claimed that Richardson County District Judge Robert Finn, who presided over his trial, was prejudiced against him. The judge met privately with victim James Thimm’s family before sentencing. Thimm was a member of the cult that lived on a farm near Rulo in southeastern Nebraska. Thimm was tortured over a three-day period
Religious cult murderer Michael W. Ryan saw the eight-year-long stay on his execution lifted this week by a federal judge who called Ryan’s crime “sickening.” U.S. District Judge Richard G. Kopf, in a 53-page order Thursday, said Ryan received a fair trial and sentence for the 1985 torture-murder of James Thimm at a religious cult compound outside Rulo. “There is not the slightest doubt about the petitioner’s guilt,” Kopf wrote. Over a two-day period, Ryan, the cult’s leader, and some of his followers sodomized Thimm with a shovel or pick handle so that his guts ruptured, whipped and beat him,
AP, Dec. 18, 2002 http://www.omaha.com/ LINCOLN (AP) – A federal magistrate has ruled that Michael W. Ryan, who is on Nebraska’s death row for a torture murder, was mentally competent to stand trial and make appeals in the case. U.S. Magistrate Judge David Piester also ruled the former religious cult leader’s right to a fair trial was not compromised when the trial judge turned his back on Ryan during his testimony. Mike Nelsen of Omaha, one of Ryan’s attorneys, said Monday that he would ask U.S. District Judge Richard G. Kopf to review Piester’s 93-page report. Ryan has been on
Interviews with the authorities, relatives of the Rulo farm’s residents and neighbors create a picture of weapon stockpiles, religious fanaticism and anti-Government sentiment. The farm’s recent residents have been linked by the authorities and family members to an anti-Semitic, white supremacist religious movement, the Ministry of Christ Church, which is called Identity after its publication, and to an allied group, the radically antitax, anti-Government Posse Comitatus.