Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Larry and Danny Ranes: Serial Killers in the Same Family

Second Trial

Ranes' trial for the murder of Linda Fearnow took place in July 1973, and again, Koster was the state's key witness against him.  Koster offered details about the time they had spent with her and how they had assaulted and killed her.  It matched the physical evidence, what little there was.

Also taking the stand were two men who had discussed the incident with Ranes during a stint in the county jail.  Richard Fee, 17 said that Koster asked him to lie and say that Koster had told him that he had lied about Ranes' involvement. Ranes had been with the woman, he'd said, but only for the sex, and when he'd gone to get beer and wine, Koster had killed her.  The other man, Lee Keaton, 28, stated that Ranes had asked him before the first trial to hire someone to kill Koster.

In this trial, Ranes was convicted on July 21 of first-degree murder, adding a third life sentence.  He now faced a trial for the double homicide.

Back in March, Koster had addressed a preliminary hearing about the girls from Chicago, Linda Clark and Claudia Bidstrup.  He said that Ranes had made plans to ensnare a female customer at the Sprinkle Road service station where he worked a late shift.  They had experimented with the lights there to give them an advantage.  In this case, unlike the others, there was also damning physical evidence: a blanket belonging to Ranes had covered the bodies and the rope used on their necks matched rope he had given to his stepfather.  In addition, a patrol officer saw him in that area by his van. 

Apparently the evidence was potent, for in August, Ranes pled no contest to reduced charges of second-degree murder, receiving two more life sentences.  He told a reporter, who probed for his response, "There's really nothing to say."

Koster had agreed to plead no contest to second-degree murder in the incident involving the girls from Chicago, but his attorney appealed his waiver from juvenile to adult court, putting his case on hold for the time being.  He remained in the county jail.


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