VINITA – A suspect in the 1999 deaths of Welch residents Ashley Freeman, her parents, Danny and Kathy Freeman, and Ashley’s friend, Lauria Bible, both teenagers, pled guilty in court in Craig County Wednesday morning to a lesser charge of accessory to murder.
Ronnie Busick, 68, who was charged in 2018, appeared before Judge Shawn Taylor in Vinita.
Busick has been held in lieu of a $1 million bond for two plus years.
He was in Craig County District Court Wednesday morning to face charges of arson, kidnapping, and murder, but pled guilty to a lesser charge of accessory to murder and the remaining charges of arson and kidnapping were dropped.
After pleading, Busick was sentenced to 15 years — 10 years in prison and five years’ supervised release, with credit for time served.
Should Busick provide details leading to the teens’ bodies, he could receive a reduced sentence of five years in prison. Aug. 31 has been set as his formal sentencing date.
In 2018, Danny and Kathy Freeman’s bodies were found near Welch in their burning home, and their daughter and her friend were discovered missing.
Two other suspects in the case, Philip Welch and David Pennington, have since died.
Investigators believe Busick, Welch and Pennington shot Danny and Kathy Freeman and kidnapped, tortured, and raped the teenage girls for several days before killing them and disposing of their bodies at a still undisclosed location.