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Alleged Oroville serial killer is headed to trial

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BUTTE CO., Calif. - Ryan Scott Blinston, 38, of Oroville appeared in Butte County Superior Court Tuesday for three separate counts of murder, attempted murder, and arson, which District Attorney Mike Ramsey says took place in May and June 2020. 

Blinston has been in jail on an attempted murder case since June 2020 and appeared in court for a preliminary hearing on charges related to an alleged previous killing spree in Butte and Tehama Counties. 

Ramsey and Tehama County District Attorney Matt Rogers said evidence presented Tuesday shows Blinston worked for a tree-trimming service and was part of a work crew at the home of Loreen Severs, 88, and Homer Severs, 91, on May 18, 2020. The Severs’ lived in Los Molinos.

Ramsey and Rogers said on May 23, 2020, Blinston traveled to Los Molinos from Oroville and killed Loreen and attempted to kill Homer after a forced entry into their home. 

Both of the Severs’ had their throats cut. Homer survived the attack but died in Dec. 2020 from an unrelated illness.

Additional evidence showed that on June 4, 2020, Blinston was part of a tree-trimming work crew that worked on the home of Sandra George, 82, in Oroville. Upon finishing the job and the crew leaving, Blinston returned to the home and killed George by slashing her throat inside her home, Ramsey said. 

During the hearing, evidence presented showed that on June 6, 2020, Vicky Cline, 57, was last seen alive with Blinston, an acquaintance, in Downtown Oroville, Ramsey said.

On the night of June 6, 2020, Cline’s car was destroyed in an arson fire. Blood and DNA evidence matching Cline was found on and in Blinston’s car, Ramsey said. 

Later that month, Cline’s body was discovered on June 21, 2020, by a fisherman in the Feather River near Belden. Ramsey said damage to her throat was consistent with that of the other victims. 

Butte County Superior Court Judge Michael Candela ruled that there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial in the murders, attempted murder, and arson case against Blinston.

On Jan. 26, 2022, the case is scheduled for arraignment and to set a jury trial date.

On Wednesday, Blinston is also scheduled to set a jury trial date for the separate attempted murder case. He is accused of attempting to murder a 50-year-old man in the man’s Brush Creek Trailer on June 14, 2020. 

The SWAT team was approaching to arrest Blinston for the Cline arson, Ramsey said. 

Following the arrest, Blinston was held in Butte County Jail while investigators put together the other Butte and Tehama murder cases, Ramsey said. 

Blinston continues to be held without bail.

Chloe Curtis joined Action News Now in 2021 as a digital producer during the week nights. She now reports on the weekend and is a digital producer three nights a week.

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