The following is a chapter from the book “List of Twelve: 12 Terrifying True Crime Murder Cases (Vol 2)”
Blaine Norris and Ryan Trimble
The making of the film “Through Hike: A Ghost Story,” was falling apart, as was the impassioned dream of its 25-year-old director, Blaine Norris.
Norris, a resident of Pennsylvania, was known for being a “horror movie geek,” and a nerd. He was obsessed with making his first attempt at movie making a success. The last thing he wanted was to return to his job at Harrisburg Insurance Company, where he worked as a computer technician.
The Opening Scene
Norris camped out with a small group of amateur actors and actresses on the Appalachian Trail and began filming. The movie was about a group of young people hiking the Appalachian Trail, who gets murdered by the ghost of a coal-mining baron.
As the movie director, Norris had his friend and co-worker, Brian Trimble, who had his own equipment, film the scenes. An investor had put up $18,000 to complete the project; however, Trimble had put the project in peril by botching up the filming, causing the film to go over budget. The investor had withdrawn his money in frustration.
As the cast rested in their tents for the night, Norris stayed up and pondered his situation. He was feeling the stress of not being able to pay for the film. He had lost his investor, and his credit cards were maxed out. Even worse, he had borrowed against his house without telling his wife. She was already frustrated with him for spending all his time working on the movie.
As he sat by the campfire, Norris could no longer ignore the obvious. He was heavily in debt and had run out of money to complete the film. Feeling defeated, Norris realized that it was time to call it quits. He would gather his crew and return home the next morning. His lifelong dream had come to an end. That was all that he could think.
The next morning, Norris drove home to his apartment. He had moved there with his family when the bank foreclosed on their house. He entered the apartment and found it empty. Everything was gone, including the furniture. He spotted a note; from his wife. She explained that she could not take it anymore, and she was taking her son and moving on. Standing alone in the barren apartment, Norris came to the realization he had lost everything. He would have to return to his life as a computer technician; his dreams were not to be.
The Proposal and Rehearsal
The next day, Norris spent his lunch break with Trimble. Trimble confided with him about his own marital woes and Norris shared his hard-luck story as well. Trimble told Norris he was sick of married life and how his wife was constantly following-up on him. She always wanted to know where he was. He felt that his life was reduced to working to make his wife happy. This discussion resulted in the two men conspiring together to resolve their problems in a deadly manner.
Trimble shared with Norris that he had taken out a $100,000 life insurance policy on his wife. He asked Norris if he would be willing to kill her. In turn, he would pay Norris the money he needed to complete his film.
Norris was interested. He thought about the idea of reviving his life’s dream. Furthermore, his friend would be free of his wife.
Norris’s desire to be a director kicked in. They spent the next few months planning the murder. He staged and repeatedly rehearsed the murder with Trimble, just as he had when directing his movie. On the day before the murder, Norris went to K-Mart and bought work gloves, a box of plastic surgical gloves, a hooded sweatshirt, and pants. He also bought a knife with a 6” blade.
Lights, Camera, Action, and Murder
On January 10, 2003, the plan was put into action. Trimble and his wife, Randi, lived in a townhouse in the city of Harrisburg. While Randi was at work, Norris entered the garage and waited for her.
As he waited, he could not help dreaming about his future as a movie director. He would have the insurance money to fund his film and make a major dent in his debt. Plus, he no longer had to put up with his wife’s complaints. While Norris waited, Trimble was dining at a restaurant with friends. The dinner would provide Trimble with an alibi.
Norris heard a car pull up in the driveway; it was Randi. She got out of the car and went inside her home. She slipped out of her work clothes and lay down on the couch to relax. Norris slipped out of the garage, threw a metallic object against her car, and then hid in the shadows by the side of the garage.
As he hoped, Randi went to investigate. She inspected her car but did not notice anything suspicious. She turned around to make her way back to her front door. Unbeknownst to her, Norris had already made his way inside her home.
Norris lay in wait in the hallway. When Randi returned to the living room, he bided his time until she had turned her back to him. When she did, he pounced on her from behind. He put a rope around her neck and proceeded to choke her. Randi managed to place her fingers between the rope and her neck. Though she was choking, her fingers prevented Randi from killing her.
Frustrated, Norris cursed at her and stabbed her with his knife twenty-seven times. When he was done, Randi was completely covered in blood. Her hair was matted in it. Norris then ransacked the home to make the scene look like a burglary gone wrong.
The detectives were suspicious when they investigated the crime scene. It was clear to them that Randi’s murder had not been the result of a robbery, as they could tell the ransacking had been staged. Eventually,
Trimble confessed and agreed to testify against Norris to avoid the death penalty.
Because Norris agreed to confess, both men were sentenced to first-degree murder without the possibility of parole.