Publisher's Note: This older, but yet to be published post is finally being presented now as an archivable history of the current events of these days that will become the real history of tomorrow.
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. The author of this post is Ashe Schow
In 1988, Alice Haynsworth Ryan, 80, was in the kitchen of her Greenville, South Carolina, home when she was stabbed 37 times and died.
Although her killer was suspected from the beginning, he was shot and killed by his mother-in-law months after Ryan's murder, and police were unable to definitively link him to the case, causing it to go cold. But recently, the suspect's partner, who says he was outside the house during the murder, put the pieces together that finally allowed police to close the case.
Ryan is described by Law & Crime as the "scion of a prominent South Carolina legal dynasty,"
the daughter of a well-known local attorney "whose name still adorns a prestigious law firm in the area."
Even though Ryan was a notable person, police believed the crime was about her home, rather than something personal involving her. They suspected her murder came as part of a crime-of-opportunity, and that burglary was the primary motive. The suspects, police believe, thought her mansion was empty since there were several days' worth of newspapers piled up outside.
Shortly after her murder, police suspected serial burglar Lamar Green. Green, however, died before police could confirm him as the killer. Green's mother-in-law shot and killed him after he pointed a gun at her - a killing that was determined to be justified.
It wasn't until 2017, when the case was reopened, that evidence started to come in that would solve the cold case, The State reported.
In 2018, DNA testing pointed to Brian Munns, a man who was seen with Green on the day of Ryan's murder. Ryan's car had been stolen ahead of her murder and abandoned nearby. Clothing, a screwdriver, a butcher knife, and a cigarette butt were found in the vehicle, and DNA testing linked them to Munns.
Because the DNA linked Munns to the crime, he was arrested. At first, he refused to speak to police, but after firing his first attorney, his second lawyer advised him to tell police his side of the story.
"While local prosecutors prepared for trial and were just about to proceed, Munns took his new lawyer's advice and told authorities his side of the story. He admitted to being in the car with Green on the day in question because the killer was trying to sell it to him. But, Munns insisted, he never set foot in the Ryan mansion that woud [sic] eventually become a well-known funeral home in the area. Green was the man with blood on his hands, he said. Police believed him,"
Law & Crime reported.
Munns pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony since he did not report the crime for decades. He was sentenced to four years in prison, but was credited with time served.
"You just don't have that type of murder every day,"
said Buddy Burgess, one of the detectives who worked on the case back in 1988. "Lot of legwork. We worked every angle. We just couldn't put it together."
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