A California tree trimmer already behind bars for attempting to kill someone has been charged with multiple murder counts and dubbed a "serial killer."
Authorities say after the suspect was apprehended by a SWAT team last year who found him allegedly trying to kill a man, they were able to link him to the deaths of several people.
What are the details?
Ryan Scott Blinston, 37, has been charged with three murders, two attempted murders, and other charges after authorities linked him to a spate of victims spanning two counties whose throats had been slashed.
The Associated Press reported that Blinston worked for a tree trimming service in northern California in May and June of 2020. Authorities believe that during his stint at the company, Blinston returned to the homes of clients after work was completed and slashed their throats.
The Butte County District Attorney's office referred to Blinston as an "alleged serial killer," saying that a multi-agency investigation found that he was tied to multiple deaths during his tenure with the tree service.
The first victims were Loreen Severs, 88, and her husband Homer Severs, 91, whose throats were both slashed in their home on May 23 — days after hiring the tree service where Blinston worked. Loreen died in the attack, but Homer survived only to die months later of an illness.
Another client of the tree trimming service, Sandra George, 82, was found dead with her throat slashed after Blinson allegedly returned to her home on June 4 after the job was complete and the rest of the crew left.
The next victim was Vicky Cline, 57, an acquaintance of Blinston's who was last seen with him on June 6. That night, Cline's car was destroyed in an arson fire, and DNA evidence links Blinston to the vehicle. Cline's body was discovered in a river a few weeks later, with her throat slashed.
Then on June 14, the Butte County Sheriff's SWAT team showed up at the home of a 50-year-old man whose identity was not released.
The Butte County District Attorney's office described what the SWAT team witnessed:
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 motorhome resident later told officers he was asleep in his bed when Blinston suddenly attacked him and cut his throat. The resident was able to kick Blinston out of the motorhome and lock the door, but Blinston was attempting to get back in the motorhome when the SWAT team coincidently arrived.
The 50-year-old man was flown by helicopter to a hospital, and he survived the attack.
Fox News reported that Blinston was charged Thursday, and if found guilty, he faces life without parole.