Crime - Sacto 911

What was outcome of 1980s murder-for-hire case involving real estate speculator?

Q: I believe it was in the 1980s, a man named Roger Vennes was murdered in his Land Park home. What became of this case?

Just Curious, Sacramento

A: James M. “Logie” MacInnes was found guilty in the contract murder of 33-year-old Roger O. Vennes, a Sacramento real estate speculator.

Vennes was found stabbed to death in his South Land Park Drive home on Oct. 19, 1982.

MacInnes was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. According to stories in The Sacramento Bee, the prosecutor contended that MacInnes was paid $5,000 by two of Vennes’ business rivals to commit the murder. The rivals were named in court but never charged.

The prosecutor said MacInnes entered Vennes’ home, stabbed him to death and took his driver’s license as proof of the killing. MacInnes’ former employer, motivated by a reward offered by Vennes’ family, testified that MacInnes admitted the murder to him.

MacInnes was convicted in his third trial on the murder charge. Two earlier prosecutions ended in mistrials.

An ex-convict, MacInnes had a murder and three prior robbery convictions on his record at the time of Vennes’ slaying.

MacInnes’ former girlfriend, Nancy JoAnne Ramsey, was tried separately and acquitted in the case. The only evidence offered by the prosecution linking Ramsey to the crime was the testimony of her husband, James Ray Ramsey, who said she confessed to him in January 1983, four months after the slaying. James Ramsey said he was voluntarily testifying against his wife of 10 years, but he admitted that he originally demanded money from police before telling his story.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy