Tag Archives: fort myers beach

Lois Reiss Captured in Texas: Accused of Fort Myers Beach Murder

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Lois Reiss

Lois Reiss, a possible serial killer who struck on Fort Myers Beach, has been captured. Authorities caught her in Texas on South Padre Island: a resort location about 45 minutes from the Mexican border. She faces charges for killing a tourist that resembled her on Fort Myers Beach, to assume her identity as she was hiding out for the murder of her husband in Minnesota. It remains to be seen if she will be transported to deal with her charges in Florida or Minnesota first. Her Lee County, FL case could potentially be a death penalty case, as it sounds like an intentional, pre-planned first degree murder, done with the intent to hide out from her earlier crimes. She was apparently captured when an alert restaurant employee recognized her and called authorities. She apparently missed the news that hiding out usually means laying low…

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Is there a Serial Killer on the Loose in Southwest Florida?

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Suspect Lois Reiss

A manhunt is underway for the woman suspected in a murder at Fort Myers Beach that was discovered on Tuesday. Detectives believe Lois Reiss was hiding out in the Fort Myers Beach area, and targeted victim Pamela Hutchinson due to the similarity of their appearance. Ms. Hutchinson was found deceased in her hotel room, murdered by a gunshot to the head. LCSO believes Reiss then stole Ms. Hutchinson’s identity, and her car, and her current whereabouts are unknown: though they indicate she may have fled to Texas.

Ms. Reiss was already the suspect in the murder of her husband in Minnesota. David Reiss was found dead after he failed to show up for a fishing trip on March 23. His body was found in their home with multiple gunshot wounds, his car was missing, and money had been taken out of his business account and transferred to his personal account. Authorities allege Reiss then forged his signature on checks which she cashed, totaling $11,000. She apparently made her way to Fort Myers Beach, identified Ms. Hutchinson due to her similarity of appearance, and then killed her and fled in her stolen vehicle. A nationwide search is underway, and Ms. Reiss is believed to be armed and very dangerous.

Fort Myers Names new Police Chief

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Chief Derrick Diggs

Crimcourts would like to welcome and congratulate Derrick Diggs, who has just been named chief of FMPD. He previously capped his 37 years of law enforcement experience as chief of the Toledo, Ohio police department. The challenges are abundant, as Fort Myers has a major issue with violent crime, and there are issues regarding morale in the department. We hope that Chief Diggs is successful in reducing or eliminating these issues, and helping make Fort Myers a safer place to live.

 

Video of High Speed Motorcycle Crash after Flight

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Joey Pinheiro

A 21-year-old man tried to take off from an attempted traffic stop on Easter morning, only to collide with a turning vehicle as he sped away: and surveillance cameras caught the dramatic collision on video. It’s a stark and scary reminder of the violence when one more more vehicles is travelling at a high rate of speed. Miraculously, the motorcycle driver, Joey Pinheiro of North Fort Myers, survived, and will likely be facing criminal charges.

WATCH: Motorcycle smashes into car after Easter morning chase

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Robert Hayden Jr., via LCSO

There was another high-profile fleeing case on Easter, as a man riding an ATV in traffic on Palm Beach also fled from an attempted traffic stop. That man also ended up crashing his vehicle, though he ended up stuck in a ditch, and with less serious injuries. Robert Hayden Jr.  was charged with fleeing, as well as possession of marijuana and for gun charges. Failing to stop for law enforcement officers is a felony in Florida: so many times the fleeing charge ends up being more serious than whatever infraction for which the cops initially tried to stop somebody.

Michael Spiegel Convicted in Fort Myers Beach marina Double Homicide

Michael Spiegel Mug Shot

Michael Spiegel Mug Shot

There was never any doubt that he did it, he was apprehended shortly after the crime splattered with the victims’ blood. However, Michael Spiegel’s defense at trial was that he was not sane at the time of the killings. The jury found him guilty in just a couple of hours.

Insanity is an affirmative defense, which means the burden is on the Defendant to prove that he was insane at the time. It’s difficult to do, especially when two people are brutally killed. There was evidence of a long history of mental illness, but the jury did not find it sufficient. The State argued that the steps he took demonstrated planning: which is indicative that he understood the nature and wrongness that he undertook. The finding today doesn’t mean that he wasn’t crazy, but that the jury wasn’t convinced that he was so mentally impaired that he did not appreciate what he was doing or that it was wrong.

There is a 25 year minimum mandatory sentence on the firearm charge. Due to his age, Mr. Spiegel will almost certainly die in prison, even if the judge doesn’t give him a life sentence.

You can read the standard Florida jury instruction on Insanity here.