A grand jury in Minnesota indicted a 57-year-old woman who authorities allege fatally shot her husband before fleeing to Florida and killing a woman there.
The Dodge County grand jury on Wednesday indicted Lois Riess on first- and second-degree murder charges.
Riess is accused of shooting her husband, 54-year-old David Riess, at the couple's home in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, in March 2018. Authorities say Lois Riess went to Fort Myers, Florida, met 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson while there and killed her in April 2018, to assume her identity. The two women were close in age and height, with both having almost white hair.
Riess led authorities on a cross-country manhunt before she was captured in Texas on April 19, 2018, at a South Padre Island waterfront restaurant by two federal deputy marshals. An employee recognized her from surveillance video broadcast on television. Riesse was extradited to Florida, where she faces a first-degree murder charge.
Prosecutors allege Lois Riess forged checks to steal $11,000 from her husband's account and then traveled south to Florida where she met Hutchinson, who was in Fort Myers visiting a friend. In March, Dodge County Sheriff Scott Rose said testing by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension indicated that shell casings found at David Riess' homicide matched a handgun recovered from Lois Riess' hotel room after her arrest in Texas.
According to records released by the state attorney's office for Lee County, Florida, both Hutchinson and David Riess were killed by small-caliber weapons in bathrooms, both had towels draped over their bodies and a rolled-up towel was wedged between the floor and bathroom door in both cases.
Florida prosecutors say they plan to seek the death penalty against Riess, who remains jailed there. Minnesota does not have the death penalty. If convicted of first-degree murder in Minnesota, Riess faces life without parole. The intentional second-degree murder charge carries a prison sentence of up to 40 years.
Court records do not list a defense attorney in Minnesota who could comment for Riess, who was granted a public defender. Her Florida public defender did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday.
A case management hearing for Riess is scheduled for Sept. 5 in Fort Myers.
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