Tag Archives: serial killer

The Gambling Granny Killer Takes a Plea to Life in Prison

Lois Riess

Lois Riess, dubbed ‘Losing Streak Lois’ by the media and who was the subject of a multi-state manhunt that saw her gambling in casinos as she avoided justice in two states, entered a plea today in Lee County Circuit court. She had been facing the death penalty for the murder of  Pamela Hutchinson on Fort Myers beach. Authorities believe she targeted Hutchinson for the resemblance between the two women, and then killed Hutchinson to assume her identity. Riess stole Hutchinson’s car and identity to finance her flight halfway across the country, before she was captured in South Padre Island, TX.

Riess was already a suspect for the murder of her husband some time before that in Minnesota. Riess is believed to have fled to Fort Myers where she committed the Hutchinson murder to further evade capture. That’s an aggravating factor that could have contributed to the State’s death penalty case. As it is, she accepted a plea to life in prison to avoid the risk of the death penalty. Florida has no parole, so life means life, and she will not have the possibility for release. Also, she will be extradited back to Minnesota to face charges for the murder of her husband, though that’s unlikely to go to trial as she’s already been given a life sentence. It is unclear if she will serve her time in Minnesota, or be transferred back to Florida to serve out her time, here.

This deal is a good resolution for the state of Florida, as the state will not have to incur the expense of a trial and the necessary appeals and post-conviction motions necessary for a death penalty case. Due to her age, it’s unlikely she would have ever ended up being executed (Kevin Foster still awaits execution, and his conviction was for charges that occurred in 1996). Perhaps the benefit or her is avoiding having to serve her time on Death Row, and getting her case done so she can serve her prison time and not sit in the local jail. She will likely have to Minnesota to deal with her charges up there before she sees a state prison.

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

lois reiss

Lois Reiss

Lois Riess, 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…

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

lori reiss.jpg

Suspect Lois Riess

A manhunt is underway for the woman suspected in a murder at Fort Myers Beach that was discovered on Tuesday. Detectives believe Lois Riess 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 Riess 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. Riess was already the suspect in the murder of her husband in Minnesota. David Riess 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 Riess 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. Riess is believed to be armed and very dangerous.

The State is Trying to Force the Parents of Accused Tampa Serial Killer to Cooperate

howell donaldson trai

Howell Donaldson III

The state has charged Howell “Trai” Donaldson III with four counts of murder for a string of killings in the Seminole Heights area of Tampa in the last few weeks. The State then subpoenaed his parents, Howell Donaldson, Jr. and Rosita Donaldson, to ask them about his history, including criminal, mental health and so forth. His parents, who were concerned that the State may try to use any evidence they provided to put their son to death, refused to answer the State’s questions or to cooperate. While the concerns may be sympathetic, there is no parental privilege applicable in this circumstance.

The State moved to hold them in contempt, and a hearing was held today in court. The Judge ruled that they would have to comply with the subpoena and to testify. He has given them until January 5, 2018 to answer the prosecutors questions or risk being found in contempt of court, which could include jail time.

This is fascinating, from a legal perspective, and the first time I’ve seen something like it. They were lawfully served with a subpoena (probably an Instanter), and the judge probably correctly orders them to comply under the law. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The serial murders he is charged with are shocking, as four seemingly unconnected, innocent people were killed. The young man accused was a college graduate who was apparently polite, even with the cops that arrested him. This case will be in the headlines for some time.

Accused Craigslist Killer Claims String of Killings

Miranda Barbour

Miranda Barbour

Female serial killers are extremely rare. The most well known in this country was Aileen Wournos, a Florida killer whose crimes were dramatized in the Charlize Theron film “Monster”. She was convicted of seven murders. Now Miranda Barbour, a 19-year-old woman who is facing murder charges in Pennsylvania has given press interview claiming that she killed at least 22 people. She initially made the claim back in February, but recently gave another interview where she provided some details of four of the alleged killings, including one in Florida. She also claimed that there were two more men she had met on Craigslist that ended up not meeting with her.

Only the Pennsylvania case has been charged so far, though certainly investigators have started to look into her claims. If true, she may be the most prolific female serial killer, and one of the most prolific in history. She seems to have taken the mantle of “Craigslist Killer” from Philip Markoff. She and her husband are both facing charges for the Pennsylvania killing.

Serial Killer – OJ claim documentary on Glen Rogers

Glen Rogers DOC photo

I checked out the documentary on Glen Rogers, the so-called Cross-Country Killer that aired recently on the Investigation Discovery channel, and it is haunting.  The film doesn’t focus on the Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman murders for most of its 2 hours, though the OJ link is the big hook that it builds up to at the end.  The film spends a good deal of time going through the history of Glen Rogers, the making of a serial killer.  Extensive interviews with his sister and brother, who narrates the film, paint a desolate picture of an evil man.

The murders committed by Glen Rogers were brutal and horrific.  He claimed, and his brother believes, that he killed upwards of 70 people before he was caught.  While is only formally attributed 5 victims, there seems to be strong evidence of at least several others presented in the documentary.  The 70 would seem to be unrealistic.  It is certainly plausible that he killed more prior to beginning his documented spree (1993 until his capture in 1995), or others in the interim.  The last three were killed in a spree in about a week shortly preceding his capture.

I have to admit the Simpson/Goldman killings are possible.  They occurred in the midst of his serial killings, and apparently while he was living in the Los Angeles area.  His brother claims that he had discussed meeting Nicole Brown Simpson prior to her death, and had even made a comment about intending to “take her down”.  Therefore, he had opportunity and clearly the depraved mind making him capable of brutal murder.  His brother claims that Rogers sent his mother an angel pin, a souvenir taken during the killing.  Rogers has claimed that OJ was there, and put him up to the crime, but wasn’t the actual killer.

Skeptics have pointed out that the M.O. of the crime differs from Glen Rogers history.  However, like many of Roger’s murders, it was a violent knife attack with multiple stab wounds.  The motive was apparently robbery, which was a motive in other offenses (he was concurrently convicted of Robbery and Theft in the Cribbs case in Florida).  He certainly can’t be ruled out as a suspect in the case.

The implication of Glen Rogers’ involvement in the Brentwood murders does not absolve OJ: Rogers claim would involve OJ and still make him legally responsible for the murders.  Additionally, there is substantial and well documented evidence of OJ’s involvement in the killings (he was found civilly liable for the deaths in a later trial).  But the possibility that Rogers was involved does not rule out that OJ was guilty, as well.  There is a suspicion that such claims would be brought up now in a late ploy to try to delay Rogers’ trip to the executioner’s chair, which makes it less likely that the state would care to investigate the claims.  Which would be a shame.  Rogers may go to his death without a full accounting of his deeds.  There may be a lot more victims out there whose families will never know what happened.  I am still a skeptic, but I am fascinated at the far-reaching ramifications of a nearly 20-year-old killing spree.

Serial killer claims O.J. innocent, says he is the real killer

Convicted serial killer Glen Rogers

Convicted murderer Glen Rogers has come forward with claims that he was the actual murdered of OJ Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and friend Ronald Goldman.  Rogers is currently on death row in Florida and California for other murders for which he has been convicted. Known as the “Cross Country Killer”, he once claimed to be responsible for about 70 total killings, though he recanted that statement.  He has been on Florida’s death row since July, 1997.  His brother has produced a documentary detailing the claims and supporting evidence, so you can watch and decide for yourself.

Now, his claims don’t absolve OJ of responsibility.  He says The Juice hired him to burglarize Nicole Simpson’s home to steal some diamond earings that had been a gift, and that OJ waited nearby when the crime took place.  He even claims OJ walked through the crime scene leaving the infamous Bruno Magli shoeprint.  As a conspirator to an armed burglary, OJ would still be guilty of Felony Murder (I don’t know if that is a capital offense in California) for the deaths of Brown Simpson and Goldman.  The claims seem farfetched, but I haven’t seen the film, yet. I’m sure they will still seem farfetched.  #oj