Ronnie Lang pleads guilty to murder

Ronnie Lang.
Ronnie Lang.(Wichita County Jail)
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 2:45 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - One of four people suspected in the May 2022 murder of 23-year-old Zachary Wood has pled guilty.

Ronnie Lang entered his guilty plea Friday morning, a short time after he had requested a lower bond, according to court documents. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the crime.

The other suspects involved, Ashley Esselborn, William Bell and Payton Collier, were all indicted for the murder in August.

The Wichita Falls Police Department said Wood was living on Brown St. with Collier and two other roommates at the time of his death. Wood’s body was found on May 21 at around noon, when police responded to a check welfare call and found a “ransacked” house with “evidence of a massive bloodletting event that occurred, in multiple rooms,” according to an affidavit.

READ: Family, friends remember Zachary Wood

Ronnie Lang, William Bell, Payton Collier and Ashley Esselborn.
Ronnie Lang, William Bell, Payton Collier and Ashley Esselborn.(Wichita County Jail)

Collier, Lang and Bell all confessed to their involvement in the assault and homicide of Wood, according to WFPD.

Police say Esselborn reportedly did not take part in the assault, but did cheer it on, yelling about missing items such as drugs and money.

She allegedly left the scene and later returned to grab items and discard bloody items, according to police. A witness reportedly told a detective that they overheard Esselborn brag about not going to jail and that she did take part in the assault.

In July, a judge lowered Esselborn’s bond from $1 million to $100,000, and also lowered Bell’s bond from $1 million to $200,000, according to court documents. Collier’s bond remain at $1 million.