Attorneys for the state argue that a defense motion should be set aside and the execution of Michael Ryan be allowed to proceed on March 6th.
Richardson County District Judge Daniel Bryan, Jr. held a hearing in Gage County on the defense motion to commute Ryan’s sentence to life in prison. Bryan listened to arguments in Beatrice, because he was there hearing other cases.
Michael Ryan, 63, faces the death penalty for the brutal torture and killing of James Thimm, a member of his religious cult. The murder took place at the cult’s compound near Rulo in southeast Nebraska in 1985. Ryan has also been convicted of killing 5-year-old Luke Stice, the son of a cult member.
Assistant Attorney General John Freudenberg told Bryan the defense argument is frivolous and a “stall tactic”. He asked the judge to dismiss it.
Defense attorney Jerry Soucie argued that Ryan should not be eligible for lethal injection, because Nebraska didn’t have its lethal injection protocol in place when Ryan was convicted.
Doug Kennedy, KWBE, contributed to this story