Jurors are scheduled to be back in Flathead County District Court Friday morning for a second day of deliberations after they didn’t settle on a verdict Thursday in the Ryan Lamb murder trial.
Lamb, 35, was on trial for deliberate homicide after Kalispell Police Department investigators said he used a pair of scissors to stab 31-year-old Ryan Nixon to death in the early-morning hours of Aug. 5, 2018, at a Two Mile Drive apartment.
Attorneys for both sides — Flathead County Public Defender Alisha Backus and County Prosecutor Travis Ahner — gave their closing arguments as they highlighted why Lamb should be found either not guilty or guilty.
Ahner went first and offered a powerful statement.
He shared a Facebook message between Lamb and another man that occurred in May 2018. One said “Marry me you sexy (profanity)” while another said “Tell me you’ll kill for me and I’ll bury a body for you.”
Ahner also pounced on the time it took Lamb to call 911 after he tried to call his parents at North Valley Hospital, although neither worked there at the time.
“It took time for Mr. Lamb to hide the scissors, remove his socks, leave the apartment and go the store where he called the hospital looking for his parents,” Ahner said. “That was time Mr. Nixon didn’t have.”
Ahner also used the words Lamb spoke in his own defense.
“He said his mom and dad were his 911, but what about Mr. Nixon’s 911?” Ahner said.
Ahner also made use of crime-scene photos that depicted fork mark wounds in Lamb’s chest and a small cut on his thumb to photos of Nixon’s body lying on a medical examiner’s table and the wounds that resulted in him bleeding to death.
“Did these (Lamb’s wounds) warrant that (Nixon’s body on the table)?”
Backus worked to discredit Lamb’s confession and the investigation by members of the Kalispell Police Department.
“There were big pieces of information that the police didn’t have when they first interviewed Mr. Lamb and they made the decision to charge him,” Backus said. “Detective Wardensky said he didn’t review all the Facebook and text messages. The government is asking you to make a decision without all of the information and we weren’t allowed to show all 11 hours of the video.”
Backus said she was “proud to stand next to this man who many people would discard, who want to put him away.”
She also said the state didn’t prove Lamb’s stabbing of Nixon was a deliberate act.
“With the danger present, he couldn’t get out,” Backus said. “If it’s a forcible felony, you can protect yourself and a fork is not simple assault.
“For Mr. Lamb, this fear was real.”
Reporter Scott Shindledecker may be reached at 758-4441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.