Jury Sees Confession Tape in Ryan Lamb Murder Trial

Ryan Lamb told detectives he never meant to hurt his partner Ryan Nixon; defense questions validity of confession

By Justin Franz
Ryan Lamb sits in Flathead County District Court on the fourth day of his trial on June 6, 2019. Ryan Lamb is charged with felony deliberate homicide after being accused of stabbing his partner Ryan Nixon on Aug. 5, 2018. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

After being in the Kalispell Police Department booking area for more than nine hours, Ryan Lamb told detectives that he had stabbed his partner, Ryan Nixon, during sex but that he never meant to kill him.

On Friday, the fifth day of testimony in the Lamb murder trial, the jury viewed video clips from law enforcement’s interrogation of Lamb the morning Nixon was found dead from multiple stab wounds in his apartment on Two Mile Drive.

Lamb, 34, is charged with felony deliberate homicide. Prosecutors allege that Lamb stabbed Nixon, 31, to death while having sex on Aug. 5, 2018. The defense team is painting a different picture in which Nixon was an abusive partner, and Lamb stabbed him because he was attacking him with a fork.

Capt. Jim Wardensky, the lead detective on the case, spent all of Friday on the stand testifying about his investigation into Nixon’s death and the police station interrogation, clips of which were shown to the jury.

For much of the 11 hours that Lamb was in the station, he talked on the phone with friends and family, paced the booking area and occasionally talked to officers who were trying to figure out what happened at 306 Two Mile Drive. During that time, Lamb offered conflicting versions of events. First he said he had come home to find Nixon stabbed multiple times and then later said he saw Nixon’s ex-boyfriend, David Delarosa, attacking him. He also said he and Nixon engaged in violent sex in the past.

In the early afternoon of Aug. 5, about nine hours after arriving at the station, Lamb admitted to Wardensky that he was the one who stabbed Nixon. Lamb told Wardensky that they were engaging in sex when Nixon stabbed him with a fork in the chest. Nixon then allegedly suggested using the scissors on Lamb, but Lamb was scared. Instead, Lamb used the scissors on Nixon and then stabbed him three times in what he told the officer he thought was a “safe spot.”

“It was consensual,” he said. “It was just taken to an extreme.”

“It was an accident.”

“It was weird sex.”

“I feel so bad.”

As the confession played for the jury in court, Lamb stared at the defense table and shook.

But during cross-examination, defense attorney Alisha Backus suggested that the confession was coerced. Backus showed a different clip, one right before the apparent confession, where Wardensky told Lamb he was most likely being charged with deliberate homicide. Lamb appeared shocked.

“Is there something I can say that changes that?” Lamb said.

“Yeah,” the officer said.

The two continued to talk, and Lamb asked questions about people getting hurt while having sex and if charges were ever filed because of that. Wardensky told him about a previous call he had been on where a woman stabbed her boyfriend in the back while having sex. The man called 911 and police responded to the scene. According to Wardensky, the man and woman agreed that it had been consensual.

“We walked away and no one got charged with a crime,” Wardensky told Lamb in the video.

A few minutes later, Lamb told Wardensky on tape that he had stabbed Nixon.

Wardensky also testified that during the course of his investigation he found that Lamb had been charged with partner family member assault in Missoula County regarding a past incident with Nixon. On Thursday, Nixon’s mother, Lynn Nixon, testified that she had taken both men to a court hearing in Missoula for that case weeks before the fatal stabbing.

Testimony will continue on Monday.