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Convicted murderer Lynlee Renick files lawsuit against accuser


A Columbia woman convicted of killing her husband has filed a defamation lawsuit against one of her accusers.

Lynlee Renick wants a judgment against Brandon Blackwell, according to court documents. Renick alleges Blackwell lied to investigators about the murder of her husband, Ben Renick, at their Montgomery County property in 2017.

A Boone County judge sentenced Lynlee Renick last month to 16 years in prison for second-degree murder. Renick's co-defendant, Michael Humphrey, was also sentenced last month to life in prison for second-degree murder.

Blackwell's statements to the Missouri State Highway Patrol gave investigators what they needed to arrest Renick and Humphrey in Jan. 2020. He and Renick began a relationship shortly after Ben Renick's death, eventually having a child together. Blackwell said at Humphrey's trial that Renick confessed to him that she and her co-worker, Ashley Shaw, plotted to kill Ben with Humphrey's help.

Blackwell, however, did not testify at Renick's trial. Blackwell faced his own criminal charges in Boone County for allegedly violating a protection order in 2019 that Renick had against him. A judge approved her defense team's request to keep Blackwell out of the state's case because he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights during a deposition before trial.

Prosecutors dropped the charges against him following Renick's conviction.

Connie Sullivan, the attorney that filed the lawsuit for Renick, said she hoped to confront how credible Blackwell's statements really were, which led to Renick getting arrested and charged.

"He had criminal charges pending that he was trying to get out of, he took the Fifth and didn't testify," Sullivan said. "So the jury and the court never got to hear the statement that started the charges against Lynlee."

A lawyer isn't listed for Blackwell in online court records.

Sandy Davidson, communications law professor at the University of Missouri, questioned the merits of the defamation lawsuit. A defamatory statement has to be a false one. Davidson pointed out that a jury found her guilty of taking part in her husband's murder "beyond a reasonable doubt." Knowingly making a false statement to police, though, is not protected, Davidson said.

Sullivan said the arrest and conviction has kept Renick from seeing her children and damaged her reputation.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Zachary Farwell

Zachary Farwell is the assignment editor and former senior producer at ABC 17 News.

Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.


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