A Jefferson City man connected to a 2017 Montgomery County murder is expected to learn his fate by the end of this week.

A jury trial began Monday at the Audrain County Courthouse for Michael Humphrey, 37, of Jefferson City, and is scheduled to last all week. Jurors from Cape Girardeau County were selected Friday. A change of venue was granted previously in the case.

Humphrey is charged with one count of first-degree murder and armed criminal action for the death of Benjamin Renick, 29, of New Florence. Renick’s wife, Lynlee, 33, was arrested with Humphrey by the Missouri Highway Patrol in January 2020.

On the night of June 8, 2017, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a deceased person at Renick’s Reptiles in New Florence. Deputies found the body of Benjamin Renick and determined he died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Renick was found near several hundred caged snakes inside his business. He specialized in breeding designer pythons at the business he ran out of a building near his home.

Highway Patrol probable cause statements allege Lynlee Renick shot and killed her husband inside his reptile farm. He was shot several times, including once in the head.

During the investigation into the murder, a person with whom authorities said Lynlee Renick was having an affair came forward with new information about the shooting. This person said Lynlee was afraid her husband would take their children and had found out Benjamin planned to end the marriage.

Facebook records obtained by authorities indicate Benjamin was upset Lynlee’s spa business in Columbia was causing a strain on the couple’s finances.

The witness told authorities Lynlee and a friend had come up with a plan to kill Benjamin with a protein drink laced with narcotics. Benjamin did get sick after drinking the drink, but he didn’t die, according to the probable cause statement.

Authorities said Lynlee later contacted an ex-boyfriend, Humphrey, to come up with a plan to shoot and kill Benjamin. However, on the day of the shooting, Humphrey told Lynlee he “didn’t feel comfortable doing it,” believing Lynlee would regret killing her husband, according to court documents.

When this occurred, authorities claim, Lynlee went into the snake shop and fatally shot Benjamin.

News Tribune staff contributed to this report.

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