FORT MYERS, Florida. – A Minnesota woman accused of killing her husband and a Florida woman and leading authorities on a cross-country manhunt, was indicted by a grand jury in Florida, officials said Wednesday.
Officials in Lee County, Florida, said a grand jury indicted 56-year-old Lois Riess on the first-degree murder with a firearm. The charges carries a mandatory life in prison if she is convicted.
Riess will be arraigned June 11.
For the death penalty to be sought, the State Attorney’s Office would have to convene a death penalty review committee, Samantha Syoen, communications director for the State Attorney’s Office, said.
A spokeswoman for the state attorney’s office said prosecutors do not have the question of whether they will seek death in this stage of the case.
Court documents say the 54-year-old David Riess was found dead in the couple of Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, home in March. The authorities say that Riess went to Fort Myers and met 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson. Researchers believe Riess killed Hutchinson to take her identity. Riess was captured in Texas.
Detectives say it is unclear how Hutchinson and Riess met, but the researchers found surveillance video of the two women at a local restaurant in the vicinity of a Gulf of Mexico beach, and the Hutchinson condo-hotel building in the beginning of April.
Hutchinson’s body was not found until April 9, when a member of staff in the unit. She was found dead in the bathroom, lying on a pillow and covered with a towel. She Had shot twice, once in the heart and once in the side.
Ten days later, Riess was arrested at a restaurant on the water by two federal deputy marshals in South Padre Island, Texas, when an employee recognized her from surveillance video broadcast on television. She was drinking cocktails at the bar and when she was taken into custody.
Riess was extradited to Florida, where she was charged with one count of second degree murder, plus one count each of grand theft, grand theft of an automobile and criminal use of personal identification. Costs in Minnesota are pending.
Riess is assigned to a public defender, and is scheduled for a hearing in Lee County on Thursday. A woman answering the telephone at the Lee County public defender’s office and said: there is no comment on Riess’ case.
The Florida grand jury also indicted Riess on charges of grand theft of a motor vehicle, grand theft and criminal use of personal identification information of a deceased person.