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Michael Wayne Ryan (August 3, 1948 – May 24, 2015) was an American convicted murderer and white supremacist.

Criminal careerEdit

Ryan was the leader of a small, anti-government group that occupied a compound near Rulo, Nebraska, in the early 1980s. He and his group of followers had loose ties to Posse Comitatus and links to the Christian Identity movement. His teachings included the supremacy of the white race, antisemitism, and a distrust of all established earthly authority, including governments. He and his followers carried out months of burglary under the cover of night. Reselling the items obtained by theft supported the activities of the group financially and built up weapons and supplies they believed would be needed for the imminent battle of Armageddon, which they assumed would occur in the form of a race war.[1]

Ryan was arrested in 1984 after reports and a criminal investigation indicated that he had abused and killed five-year-old Luke Stice and later killed fellow member James Thimm after he had tortured the latter for several days, beating him, whipping him, then shooting off his fingertips, skinning him alive, breaking his legs, and raping him with a shovel before finally stomping him to death.[1]

Ryan was tried, convicted and sentenced to death on September 12, 1985. Ryan had claimed to have been in direct contact with God and vowed to spend his days in prison rewriting the Bible, but since recanted on both. He died of natural causes at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution on death row on May 24, 2015.[2]


  • "Michael Ryan". Nebraska Department of Correctional Services.
  • "Judge Lifts Killer's Stay Of Execution". September 12, 2003.
  • "Circuit court rejects appeal by cult leader on death row". Lincoln Journal Star. October 30, 2004.
  • "Judge lifts Ryan's stay of execution". Religion News Blog. September 13, 2003.
  • "Ryan to make execution protocol argument". Lincoln Journal Star. April 26, 2007.
  • "Currently on Death Row". Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty.
  • "Identity Crisis". Southern Poverty Law Center. p. 3.
  • Rod Colvin (1992). Evil harvest: The shocking true story of cult murder in the American heartland. Bantam. ISBN 0-553-29868-2.
  • "07/21/95 STATE NEBRASKA v. MICHAEL W. RYAN". © 1997 VersusLaw Inc.


External linksEdit