Police: Man admits to killing Cynthiana woman

shopkins@herald-leader.comAugust 1, 2009 

CYNTHIANA — Kentucky State Police say a man who attempted to run over two Bourbon County jail employees Friday morning told officers that he killed a woman in Cynthiana.

Bass Webb, 30, drove into the parking lot of the jail in Paris about 7:30 a.m. Friday and tried to hit Deputy Ryan Barkley and pre-trial officer Josh Mason with his vehicle, jail administrator Gregory Kapusta said.

Kapusta said Webb, who appeared to be driving a Jeep Tracker, took off and began driving toward Cynthiana on U.S. 27.

Webb's vehicle caught fire during the pursuit, state police Sgt. Jeremy Murrell said. Police took Webb into custody when he was pulled over.

While police were arresting Webb, he told them he had killed a woman on New Lair Road in Cynthiana, Murrell said.

State police found the body of Bryia Runiewicz, 32, inside a single-family residence that sits on a hill surrounded by greenery at 1023 New Lair Road. Murrell said he didn't know how long she had been in the house.

Carol Banks, a neighbor and longtime friend of Runiewicz, said the victim's young children, two girls ages 8 and 7, were inside the house, but they did not see what happened to their mother and woke when police arrived. Murrell would not say whether anyone else was at the house.

Banks said Runiewicz's 8-year-old daughter returned a call to Banks' daughter, Tammy, 8, Friday afternoon to update them on what was happening.

"It's just mind-blowing," Banks said, describing waking up Friday morning to police and media everywhere. "It was devastating."

Banks said the children will stay with other relatives in Harrison County.

Banks said Runiewicz and Webb had dated for a couple of months. She said the couple started fighting more as Runiewicz grieved after the death of her children's father less than a month ago.

Webb was released from the Bourbon County jail about five months ago. He had been held for assault, criminal mischief and persistent felony offender charges, Kapusta said.

Runiewicz was a former Bourbon County jail employee who was fired several months ago for personnel issues unrelated to any relationship she might have had with Webb, Kapusta said.

It's unclear why Webb went to the jail Friday morning, Murrell said.

Kapusta said the deputies immediately knew it was Webb because he had been a "management problem" while he was at the Bourbon County jail. He did not elaborate.

"All the staff know him," Kapusta said.

Paris police have charged Webb with two counts of attempted murder in connection to what happened outside the Bourbon County jail Friday morning, Murrell said.

Barkley suffered a leg injury. Mason was not injured.

Murrell said he expects more charges to be filed against Webb.

Reach Ashlee Clark at (859) 231-1443 or 1-800-950-6397, ext. 1443.

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