Murder in the Wicked West: Utah’s Lion King is featuring the murders of Rex Tanner and his fiance, June Flood, by John Robert Pinder and Filomeno Ruiz, a Mexican national.
Pinder owned an ostrich ranch in Duchesne County, Utah, where Tanner, Flood, and Ruiz worked as ranch hands.
On the night of Oct. 25, 1998, Pinder was having drinks with Ruiz and several other employees when they started talking about “shrunken heads.”
At some point during the conversation, Ruiz reportedly said, “Let’s go get some heads.”
Pinder and Ruiz drove to Tanner and Flood’s home, but an inmate testified that it was to confront them about a half-pound of methamphetamine that had been stolen.
Tanner and Flood were brutally assaulted at their home before they were kidnapped and taken to Pinder’s ranch, where they were shot to death with a 10-millimeter pistol.
To discard their bodies, Pinder and Ruiz blew up their bodies using ammonium nitrate and dynamite.
They burned some of the body parts that weren’t vaporized.
Welfare check on Rex Tanner and June Flood led to a murder investigation
When one of Flood’s friends reported her missing on Oct. 28, 1998, police officers were dispatched to her home to conduct a welfare check.
Upon arrival, officers entered the home, which was in disarray, and found blood on the bed sheets as well as a chair in the living room area.
On Oct. 30, 1998, the couple’s bodies were found scattered across Pinder’s ranch.
Parts of their remains were found hanging from the trees and in the bushes.
Police also found bloodstains, a 10 mm shell casing, and one of the victim’s thumbprints inside Pinder’s truck.
John Robert Pinder and Filomeno Ruiz were charged with the couple’s murder
Pinder was arrested and booked into the county jail, where he was held on a $1 million bond.
He was charged with one count of aggravated murder in Tanner’s death, one count of aggravated murder in Flood’s, and tampering with a witness.
Ruiz was also arrested.
At trial, he testified that he did not murder Tanner and Flood. He said he only helped Pinder discard the bodies out of fear he would be the next victim.
Ruiz pleaded guilty to two counts of murder after taking a plea deal. He was sentenced to 5 years to life in prison and was released in October 2008.
He was also deported and prohibited from entering the United States illegally.
A judge sentenced Pinder to two consecutive life terms with the possibility of parole.
Murder in the Wicked West: Utah’s Lion King airs Monday at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.