Cult killer and death-row inmate Michael Ryan died of natural causes Sunday.
Ryan, 66, died at 7:45 p.m. at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution, where he'd been since the prison opened in 2001 and death row inmates were moved there from the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.
The sister of victim James Thimm, Miriam Thimm Kelle, told state lawmakers in March that Ryan had a medical condition that would kill him soon.
She was testifying in favor of abolishing the death penalty. At that same hearing, Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers said Ryan had terminal brain cancer.
“He had a long-term medical condition,” Tecumseh spokeswoman Jessica Houseman said Monday.
Officials found no sign of trauma but will do an autopsy, Houseman said.
As is required by state law, a grand jury will investigate the death because it happened while Ryan was in custody.
Ryan was sentenced to death in one of the state’s most infamous and brutal murder cases: the 1985 cult-related torture and killings of Thimm, 26, and Luke Stice, 5, near Rulo. Ryan led the cult, which believed the end of the world was coming.
Source: Lincoln Journal Star, Jonathan Edwards, May 25, 2015
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