Tree Trimmer, throat slasher charged for three murders in Butte County


BUTTE COUNTY, CA – An Oroville man, already in jail for an attempted murder, was charged this morning with three other separate murders and another attempted murder as the result of a multi-agency investigation.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey and Tehama County District Attorney Matt Rogers announced today they filed the new charges in Butte County Superior Court on Ryan Scott Blinston, 37, of Oroville, for the murders of Loreen Severs, 88, and the attempted murder of her husband Homer Severs, 91, of Los Molinos; Sandra George, 82, of Oroville; and Vicky Cline, 57, of Oroville.

A charge accusing Blinston of arson of Cline’s car was also filed. District Attorneys Ramsey and Rogers noted they agreed to combine all the cases to be tried in Butte County Superior Court. The District Attorneys said the multi-murder complaint would allow them to seek a Life without Possibility of Parole sentence for Blinston. The new charges are separate to a previously filed charge of attempted murder of a Brush Creek man, which Blinston is already facing in the Butte County Superior Court.

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“Through the combined efforts of law enforcement agencies in both Tehama and Butte Counties, we will be able to seek justice for the victims and ensure no one else will be harmed,” Ramsey and Rogers said.

The multi-agency investigation revealed that Blinston worked for a tree-trimming service and was part of a work crew at the Severs’ Los Molinos home on May 18, 2020. Evidence showed Blinston returned to the Severs’ home on May 23, 2020, and killed Loreen and attempted to kill Homer after a forced entry into their home. Both had their throats cut. Homer survived the attack, but later died of an unrelated illness in December of 2020.

On June 4, 2020, Blinston again was part of a tree-trimming work crew that serviced Sandra George’s Oroville home. After the work was completed and the crew left, Blinston returned to George’s home and killed her. As with the Severs, her throat was slashed inside her home.

On June 6, 2020, Vicky Cline, an acquaintance of Blinston, was last seen alive with him in downtown Oroville. An arson fire destroyed Cline’s car later that night. Blood and DNA evidence on and in Blinston’s car was forensically matched back to Cline. Her body was later discovered by a fisherman in the Feather River near Belden on June 21, 2020. Damage to her throat was consistent with the other victim murders.

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During the early morning hours before dawn of June 14, 2020, a Butte County Sheriff’s SWAT team stealthily approached an isolated motorhome in a heavily wooded and isolated area of Brush Creek in Butte County to serve an arrest warrant on Blinston for the arson of Cline’s car. Information had been developed that Blinston was staying on the property with a 50-year-old male resident. 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. Blinston attempted to run into the woods but was captured by the team. The resident was tended to by the team’s medic and taken by helicopter to a local hospital.

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The man survived and Blinston was charged with attempted murder and has been held without bail in Butte County Jail pending court proceedings as the investigative teams put together the other Butte and Tehama murder cases. Blinston will appear in Butte County Superior Court to face his new charges this afternoon, May 13, 2021 at 3:00 p.m.

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