‘Finally there’s justice’: Wyngarden convicted of 1987 killings

Ryan Wyngarden was convicted this afternoon of killing his sister and her husband in 1987 in a cold case that divided a family and provoked courtroom outbursts during the 12-day trial in Ottawa County Circuit Court in Grand Haven.
The Holland Sentinel
Mar 28, 2014

The jury took about 4 and a half hours to reach its verdict.

Wyngarden, 51, of Zeeland, was charged with two counts of first degree premeditated murder for the deaths of his sister Gail and her husband Rick Brink on Nov. 21, 1987, in their Park Township home on Ransom Street. After sentencing at 11:30 a.m. April 21, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

“Today, finally there’s justice for what took place on Nov. 22, 1987,” said Budd Brink, brother of murder victim Rick Brink. “We’re pleased to have this, finally, justice Rick deserves.”

Wyngarden held his head down in his hands as the verdicts were read.

“I didn’t do this,” he said as he was taken out of the courtroom by Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

The prosecution, led by attorney Lee Fisher, said Wyngarden killed the couple because he was jealous of their success and didn’t want his sister to tell Rick, 28, about Wyngarden’s sexual relations with Gail, 22, when they were younger.

Wyngarden’s defense, led by attorney David Hall, said the couple could have been killed in a case of mistaken identity because the previous owner of the Brink house dealt drugs brought from Detroit.

The case centered on the testimony of Pam Wyngarden, Ryan Wyngarden’s wife, who told police in January 2013 that her husband confessed to the killings on that November weekend.

“She was simply unable to carry the burden inside for 25 years,” Fisher said in closing arguments. “She had a chance to right a wrong and she did it — at a great cost to her.”

Pam Wyngarden said that her testimony, first heard in public at a February 2013 preliminary examination, has divided her family, setting siblings against siblings and destroying traditions of family gatherings.

On Thursday, a member of the court gallery yelled, “Telling lies about me!” and had to be pushed out of the courtroom by Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

— By Jim Hayden, The Holland Sentinel



Congrats to the Ottawa County Sheriff Department and the prosecutor office for doing a great job on sticking with this case for this many years and getting a conviction. It's really too bad we don't have capital punishment for taking these two lives.


The jury wasted little time convicting that POS. Now let's hear from all the wackos who think he's not guilty because of what they read in the paper.

Nice job, police and prosecutors.




Good! this should send a strong message to the criminal element in this county, commit a murder - get nailed by the Sheriff, even its several years later.


If Pam Wyngarden's testimony was true, she is a poor excuse for a human being. She marries the man who told her he killed his relatives and showed her their dead bodies? Twenty-six years later, this secret, suddenly, can no longer be kept? Too bad charges can't be brought against her for being an idiot.

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