In the early 1980s, Ryan was in charge of a small group of anti-government people living on a compound near Rulo, Nebraska.
Ryan and the people who supported him were involved in the Christian identity movement, sometimes collaborating with Posse Comitatus.
Ryan’s beliefs included white supremacy, the idea that Jews are inherently bad (anti-Semitism), and a lack of faith in all established authorities on earth, including governments.
Case of the murder of Luke Stice and News
In August 1985, two bodies were found on an 80-acre farm outside of Rulo, Nebraska. Luke Stice, 5, and James Thimm, 26, were both there. The farm was associated with the white nationalist Christian identity movement.
Daniel Levitas wrote in The Terrorist Next Door that there was evidence that both men were tortured before they were killed. A man who wanted to show who was in charge had hurt her badly.
When Michael Wayne Ryan, a trucker who dropped out of high school, was caught for these crimes, police found out that he had acted as a prophet and said the world was about to end. His religion, embraced by people who wanted “paramilitary salvation,” was not against violence.
Luke Stice’s father, Rick Stice, worked on the farm and was a member of his sect. Rick liked Ryan’s ideas because he and his wife had money problems and Sondra had died of cancer.
Ryan’s group was invited to Stice’s property, but Ryan’s dislike of Stice quickly became apparent. Ryan put Stice in a position where she was his “slave”.
About 21 people lived in the various buildings, most of them children. Ryan called them the “real Israelites” and convinced them that the end of the world would happen in Nebraska. He asked them to keep food and medicine.
James Thimm, a strong supporter, went to the estate with then 30-year-old David Andreas. Ryan also got mad at Thimm and relegated him to the bottom of the company. He had to do what his boss told him to do.
Ryan started hurting Luke to hurt Stice. He wrote the number “666” in red on the boy’s forehead and said that the boy was Satan’s child. Ryan told Stice to hit and flog Luke, and he did as he was told.
Stice left the farm, but only for a short time. When he returned, he was tied to the porch. Stice did what Ryan told him to do and sexually abused Luke. He was then told to do Thimm sext and go through the same thing, which he did.
Still, Ryan wasn’t happy. One day he hit Luke so hard that he broke his neck and killed him. He had Stice dig a grave. Meanwhile, Stice ran away again, leaving two of his children behind.
Instead of escaping, he was cruelly treated in a horrible way. He was shot in the face and suffered for a few days before dying.
Levitas says he was forced to have sex with a goat while chained in a pigsty, despite having a large cut on his face. Ryan then prompted a group of men to sexually assault him while holding a shovel handle. Afterwards, Ryan punched and kicked him, breaking his arm.
The next day, his legs were broken and his skin was peeled off while he was still alive. Then Ryan stomped on Thimm’s chest, killing the man.
Thimm was laid to rest without a sign in a cemetery after Ryan told one of the others to shoot him in the head just to be safe.
What happened to Michael Ryan?
Michael Ryan no longer exists because he died in prison in 2015.
On June 25, 1985, police searched the farm and found stolen items, as well as weapons and ammunition that had been obtained illegally. The people in the cult were put in prison. After some time, Stice became an informant for the FBI and helped them investigate Ryan.
Ryan was arrested after the remains were found. During his testimony in court, Stice was asked if he had done anything to hurt his son. He said, “I thought that had to be done.”
In 2015, he was held at Tecumseh State Correctional Facility. Michael Ryan finally died on May 24, 2015 from a brain tumor that could not be cured. He was 66 years old when he died.
Luke’s case was heard and he collapsed
Michael Ryan was sentenced to death in 1986.
In 1989 his first appeal was denied, and in 1995 the state Supreme Court denied his second appeal.
Ryan had doubts about how Nebraska obtained any of the three drugs that would have killed him in 2012. Ryan’s motion was denied by a lower court without a hearing, and in April last year the state Supreme Court turned down his appeal.
But Nebraska couldn’t kill Ryan because one of the three drugs needed for the lethal injection ran out in 2013.
On May 14, Gov. Pete Ricketts said the three drugs needed for the death penalty had been purchased. But less than a week later, the Legislature finally passed legislation abolishing the death penalty in Nebraska. On Tuesday, the governor said he would veto the law and he was trying to find ways to get enough votes to support his decision.
When found guilty, Nebraska had only the electric chair for executions. But in 2009, the Nebraska legislature switched from killing people with electricity to killing them with lethal injections. Before that, in 2008, the Nebraska Supreme Court said it was cruel and unusual to kill people with electricity.