Guilty verdict in Guitron murder

Ryan GuitronThe trial against Vencil Ash III in the cold case of Ryan Guitron started June 25 and wrapped up on July 2 with closing arguments. The jury deliberated for six hours. Ash was found guilty of murder in the first-degree.

Ash is scheduled to appear again in Kimball County Court on Aug. 21 for sentencing in the case. Kelly Meehan, who was also charged with first-degree murder, is currently awaiting trial with a status hearing in the case scheduled in August.

Ryan’s remains were found in a woodpile on an abandoned farmstead in rural Kimball County, Neb. Ryan Guitron, an oil field worker, was last seen in Fort Collins about midnight Oct. 14, 2003. He was supposed to go to his girlfriend’s Fort Collins home, but never arrived.

Authorities think Ryan was executed after being taken to the farmstead. A single gunshot wound to the head was discovered. Ryan was eventually identified by the use of dental records.

Meehan has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors charged Meehan, who is also known by the aliases Kelly L. Ash and Kelly L. Meehan-Ash, with aiding and abetting first-degree murder, a Class IA felony.

According to Kimball County court documents, Ash had previously been questioned in connection with Ryan’s disappearance after he had been arrested on a warrant in October 2003. He had been in possession of items of Guitron’s and had even been connected to a sale of a vehicle owned by Guitron.

According to Kimball County court records, during separate interviews, Ash and Meehan told investigators different stories about the events that lead to Guitron’s death. Ash told police that he had killed Guitron in self-defense, saying that Guitron had threatened him with a rifle. Court documents state that Meehan told authorities that Ash had planned to kill Guitron for days prior to the murder. She said that Ash had found Guitron to be in possession of a bra and underwear of hers and indicated he would kill the man.

She initially denied being involved in the murder, but later admitted to authorities that she had hid the weapon used in the homicide en route to Bushnell and put it in a spot for Ash to retrieve before shooting Ryan.

Court documents place the date of Ryan’s death as sometime between Oct. 15, 2003, the last day he was seen by others alive, and Oct. 18, 2003, the date that Ash had been arrested in Kersey, CO.

UPDATE: Ash will be sentenced on Aug 21, 2012. Meehan will be sentenced on Aug 22 at 830am.