FAMED snake dealer Ben Renick’s death was at first believed to have been caused by one of his beloved serpents
But his mysterious murder was solved after his wife Lynlee’s shocking Facebook messages revealed the true culprit, as prosecutors argued.
Renick, 29, was found lying in a pool of blood at his exotic snake breeding facility in New Florence, Missouri back in 2017.
Bodycam footage from the scene at Renick Reptiles shows police walking through the facility, which is lined with containers holding pythons and anacondas weighing over 200 pounds.
“They’re holding shotguns in hand,” Montgomery County Coroner Dave Colbert told CBS’ 48 Hours of the officers, explaining they believed a killer snake was on the lose.
“There were guns out. … Walking into a death scene with thousands of snakes, jumping at the cages … it was just a crazy scene to be at.”
Ben Renick’s brother Sam Renick says he called 911 after Ben’s wife, Lynlee Renick, discovered the body and called him over.
Sam claims he assumed a snake had attacked his brother because Ben’s skull appeared to be crushed and there were two puncture wounds on his arm that appeared to be bite marks.
However, when Coroner Colbert examined Renick’s body, he determined his cause of death to be homicide.
Renick had actually been shot eight times, and a shell casing was found a few feet away from his body.
“For some reason,” Colbert says, “somebody just really didn’t like Mr. Renick — because of the amount of damage that was inflicted upon him. And, obviously, from bullet holes in the floor. This was something that was not just a random act.”
Police first considered a robbery to be the motive, as Renick’s serpent collection was worth more than a million dollars.
But no snakes were missing, and the theory was dismissed.
Police had no suspects until January of 2020, when a tip came from Lynlee’s ex-husband and father of her first son, Brandon Blackwell.
Brandon disclosed details to law enforcement about Lynlee’s plan to carry out Ben’s killing from three years ago.
Three years after the murder, Lynlee and her now ex-boyfriend, Michael Humphrey, were both charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.
Facebook messages used by prosecutors between Lynlee and Renick revealed he had confronted her about her struggling business, ABC17 reported.
The couple’s messages also showed he was expecting a large sum of money from his business, as well as Lynlee confronting Renick about sexually abusing her.
During their trial, another conspirator involved with Ben’s murder – spa manager Ashley Shaw – testified against Lynlee.
Ashley revealed to the court that the spa owner allegedly attempted to kill her husband once before by poisoning his beverage with a heavy amount of painkillers.
On December 9, 2021, Lynlee was convicted of second-degree murder and armed criminal action.
Michael Humphrey was found guilty of first-degree murder, but his conviction was reduced to second-degree.
The Poisonous Wife airs Saturday, March 12 at 10/9c on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.