Florida wants to execute a Minnesota woman charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Fort Myers woman she met in a restaurant in April.
Lois Riess is accused of killing Pamela Hutchinson in early April. The state attorney based in Lee County, Fla., announced the decision Monday to seek the death penalty for Riess, who has pleaded not guilty in writing.
Riess, 56, turned up in Florida while she was being sought by Minnesota authorities in the death of her husband, David, in March in Blooming Prairie. She met the 59-year-old Hutchinson on April 4 at a restaurant and was later seen at the woman's condo. The next day, Riess was seen driving away in Hutchinson's white Acura. Hutchinson's body was found April 9 in her home. She had been shot twice.
By the time the body was found, Riess had moved on. She stayed in an Ocala, Fla., hotel where she used Hutchinson's credit cards to pay for room service and a movie. She also withdrew $5,000 cash from Hutchinson's bank accounts, records show.
Riess then drove to South Padre Island, Texas, and checked into a Motel 6. She was the subject of a nationwide hunt at that point.
In Texas, she befriended 65-year-old Bernadette Mathis and had planned to meet her for drinks. Riess was drinking and chatting up two men when a restaurant worker alerted authorities after recognizing Riess from surveillance footage shown on television. Federal marshals apprehended her at the restaurant.
Both of Riess' alleged victims were shot by small-caliber weapons in their bathrooms. Towels were draped over their bodies and a rolled-up towel had been wedged between the floor and bathroom door, court records show.
Documents showed authorities found 9mm and .22-caliber handguns, plus bullets, a holster, duct tape, rubber gloves and credit cards from Hutchinson.
She was extradited from Texas to Florida after she was indicted last month on the murder and theft charges.
Riess is being held in Lee County without bond.
She has been charged in Dodge County, Minn., with forging $11,000 in checks from her husband's business account. Minnesota authorities have not yet charged her in her husband's death.