COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ) -
Attorneys for the woman accused of killing a Montgomery County snake breeder want the man she allegedly confessed to left out of trial.
Lynlee Renick's team wants to keep Brandon Blackwell from testifying at her murder trial. The trial is set to start on Dec. 6 in Boone County. Attorney Tim Hesemann said Blackwell refused to talk to attorneys about his pending case for allegedly stalking Renick in 2019, and what motivation that case may have had on him speaking with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Blackwell's testimony proved crucial to the patrol's case against Renick and Michael Humphrey. Prosecutors charged them both with first-degree murder shortly after Blackwell spoke with law enforcement in January 2020. Blackwell said at Humphrey's trial in October that Renick confessed to him that she and her co-worker, Ashley Shaw, plotted to kill Ben with Humphrey's help.
A jury convicted Humphrey of first-degree murder.
Hesemann wrote in a motion on Thursday that Blackwell refused to talk to them about his pending case in Boone County at a May 2021 deposition. Judge Kevin Crane approved a request for a new deposition of Blackwell at pre-trial hearing. Hesemann claims at that next deposition on Nov. 17 that Blackwell "after several preliminary questions, again refused to answer any questions related to his stalking or violation of an order of protection charges."
Hesemann said Blackwell's refusal to talk about limits Lynlee Renick's ability to defend herself in court. Both sides will argue the motion at a Dec. 1 hearing. Jury selection for Lynlee Renick's case is set to start on Dec. 3 in Clay County, near Kansas City. Jurors will then be taken to Boone County for trial starting Dec. 6.
Blackwell's attorney, Jeff Hilbrenner, declined to comment. Hesemann did not respond to a request for comment late Friday.
Blackwell could be one of several witnesses to implicate Lynlee Renick for Ben's death. Shaw testified at Humphrey's trial that she and Lynlee had come up with at least two plots to kill Ben. The first involved Shaw getting a hold of 12-15 Percocet pills to slip into a protein shake for Ben. When that did not kill him, Shaw said the pair recruited Humphrey, Lynlee Renick's ex-boyfriend, to help them get a gun. Shaw reached an agreement with prosecutors to work with them in exchange for immunity.
Prosecvutors revealed at a pre-trial hearing that Humphrey and his attorneys helped them find a gun that they say was used to kill Ben. Prosecutors have certified Humphrey as a witness for the state, but could choose not to call him at the trial.