GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — A man convicted of first-degree murder for the deaths of his sister and brother-in-law more than 20 years ago lashed out at the judge and detectives before being sent to prison for life.
With time ticking away on his freedom, Ryan Wyngarden. now 51, spent more than an hour blaming just about everyone involved in his double-murder case. First, he accused detectives of coercing his wife, key witness Pam Wyngarden, who testified against him and filed for divorce last month.
"They mentally raped my wife into this," Ryan Wyngarden told the courtroom.
A cold case team persuaded Pam Wyngarden, who was dating Ryan Wyngarden in 1987, to tell what she knew about the killings. She said he showed her the bodies.
After ranting about the investigation, Ryan Wyngarden called the judge unjust and a liar.
"You're lying now. You are flat out lying," he said to Judge Jon Hulsing of Ottawa County's 20th Circuit Court.
Hulsing threatened to duct tape Ryan Wyngarden's mouth shut if he didn't keep quiet. All the while, Ryan Wyngarden denied he killed his sister, Gail Brink, 22, and brother-in-law, Rick Brink, 28, at their home in Park Township, Mich., on Nov. 21, 1987. The area is on the shores of Lake Michigan about 30 miles southwest of Grand Rapids, Mich.
Police have said Wyngarden was jealous of the newlyweds' success and wanted to keep secret sexual encounters he and his sister had as teenagers.
"There's a good chance if they'd caught the person I might of, I'm not going to say it, I would have killed the person that killed my sister," Ryan Wyngarden said.
At times, Ryan Wyngarden appealed to God for mercy.
"I didn't kill my sister, and you know it," Ryan Wyngarden said as he looked at the ceiling.
Earlier in court, Rick Brink's brother, Bud Brink, made a different religious reference as he quoted a local pastor.
"This is not the word of the Lord," Bud Brink said. "This is the work of the devil."
Hulsing said this case gave him no joy, but he hoped to bring justice in handing Ryan Wyngarden two life sentences without parole.
"You put two bullets in the face of your brother-in-law," Hulsing said. "This was a brutal homicide. You are brutal, cold-blooded murderer."
The Brink family, which waited for more than 25 years to find out who killed their brother and son, now has an answer.
"All the prospects of Ryan controlling others will now be gone," Bud Brink said. "Justice has been done."
Even the convicted double murderer eventually ran out of words.
"I guess I'm done," Ryan Wyngarden said to the court.
After his sentencing, Ryan Wyngarden was removed immediately from the courtroom. He will have a chance to appeal.
Contributing: The Associated Press