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, who was known as ‘Losing Streak Lois’ because of her gambling habit, allegedly killed her husband, 54-year-old David Riess, at the couple’s home in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, in March 2018.
His body was found at home with multiple gunshot wounds after David’s colleagues called to say they hadn’t seen him.
Riess was nowhere to be found and a warrant was issued for her arrest
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 business account shortly after he died, and accused Riess of frittering away the money in casinos as she drove to Florida where she met Hutchinson, who was in Fort Myers visiting a friend according to CBS News.
Police say she killed Hutchinson in early April in a similar manner to her husband, intending to steal her identity because the pair looked alike.
Riess was then arrested at South Padre Island in Texas after being seen in a bar, and was extradited back to Florida to face charges.
Police believe that Riess may have been planning a third murder in the Lone Star state – a woman named Bernadette who she had befriended there.
The pair had gone to dinner on April 15 before the woman invited Riess to come to the community hot tub and allowed her to sleep in her guest bedroom.
Bernadette said she was told by the bartender she ‘seemed out of it’ after only a few drinks, and ‘does not remember’ why she let Riess come home with her.
Riess and Bernadette had gone to breakfast in the morning, and made plans for dinner on April 20.
Riess was arrested on the night of the 19th, and the court documents say Bernadette was told by someone at the bar while waiting for Riess to show up.
Bernadette told Wink News she thought Riess was ‘a new best friend’, and that the woman had seemed overly kind and paid for her dinner.
Following the 57-year-old’s arrest, police searched the car she had been driving – a vehicle allegedly stolen from Hutchinson.
Officers discovered a prescription pill bottle, stained blankets and sheets, and a new cell phone box.
Inside her Texas hotel room, they found two handguns and ‘a black bag with multiple other firearm paraphernalia that include bullets, a holster, duct tape, rubber gloves, checkbook of the victim’s with four credit cards, and what appeared to be a trophy,’
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.
Inside her Texas hotel room, they found two handguns and ‘a black bag with multiple other firearm paraphernalia that include bullets, a holster, duct tape, rubber gloves, checkbook of the victim’s with four credit cards, and what appeared to be a trophy,’ News Press reported.
Riess has pleaded ‘not guilty’ to Hutchinson’s murder last month, and is expected to stand trial for her husband’s murder in Minnesota following her trial for Hutchinson’s killing in Florida,
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 September 5 in Fort Myers.
Per: Daily Mail