News & Features

Judge Denies Motions to Dismiss Murder Charge Against Ryan Lamb

Trial currently scheduled for January 2020

A Flathead County District Court judge has denied two motions to dismiss the case against Ryan Lamb, the 34-year-old Kalispell man accused of stabbing his boyfriend to death while having sex. The judge also denied a third motion to acquit Lamb.

The decision by District Court Judge Robert Allison came more than two months after Lamb’s murder trial resulted in a hung jury.

Prosecutors alleged that Lamb stabbed and killed his partner, Ryan Nixon, 31, with scissors during a sexual encounter in August 2018. But the defense argued that Lamb was acting in self-defense. Lamb stood trial in early June on a single charge of felony deliberate homicide. After nine days of testimony and 13 hours of deliberation, the jury voted 11 not guilty to one guilty, resulting in a mistrial. At the time, members of the jury said they were unable to reach a verdict because they had questions about the law. Judge Robert Allison said he was unable to give the jury further instructions.

Prosecutors have since filed an alternative charge of negligent homicide, meaning a jury could convict him of the lesser charge a trial. Lamb is currently scheduled to stand trial in January 2020. Lamb pleaded not guilty to the alternative charge last month.

Lamb’s attorney, Alisha Backus, filed a motion to dismiss the case and a motion to acquit soon after the trial. In the motion to dismiss, Backus argued that having Lamb stand trial again would be a violation of his double jeopardy rights. In the motion to acquit, Backus argued that there was not enough evidence to charge Lamb and that he should be set free. Allison disagreed. In his judgment, Allison accused the defendant of “summarizing portions of the evidence in a manner favorable to his position.”

After prosecutors filed an alternative charge, Backus filed another motion to dismiss arguing there was not sufficient evidence to charge her client with negligent homicide. Allison again denied the motion.

Lamb is currently out on bail.