The Movie ‘Right To Kill’ Was True Wyoming History
Many "shoot 'em ups" have been loosely based on Cowboy State history. This isn't one. In 1982, Cheyenne, Wyoming made national news when Richard Jahnke was killed by his son, Richie Jahnke.
At age 16, Junior felt that he had to bring peace to his own abused family. Richard Senior would turn out to be psychotic, and Richie’s attempts for help all failed.
If you grew up in 1980s Wyoming, you heard regular updates on the trials of Richie and his sister, Deborah.
Just three months ago, I saw this comment reflecting the movie in my Facebook feed, “…I hope he didn't suffer any further abuse in prison. This story always struck me as my father was abusive. Richie was my hero, secretly."
In 1985, the Jahnkes were the movie “Right to Kill." It includes terror scenes that were not admitted into evidence by a judge wanting a conviction. Both Richie and Deborah were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. Deborah's sentence was commuted to one year probation, and Richard would be later released on parole. Both have been free ever since.
It’s clear from how the Jahnkes are talked about, even today, that many people in Cheyenne knew the family. They found out what a monster Richard Senior was. If the community failed to respond to Richie Jr., maybe it couldn’t grasp what he told it. Perhaps the community just couldn't believe something like that could happen to a regular family like the Jahnkes.