The southern Minnesota woman accused of killing her husband in March and then fleeing to Florida where she is accused of killing a second person will be back in court Wednesday.
Lois Riess, 56, is scheduled to appear in a Lee County courtroom in Fort Myers where she’s facing first-degree murder charges in connection with the death of Pamela Hutchinson. Riess is accused of fatally shooting the 59-year-old Hutchinson because she had a similar appearance, according to the charges.
Authorities believe Riess killed her husband, David, who was found dead in the couple’s Blooming Prairie home March 23. By time they discovered his death, Riess had taken the couple’s Cadillac Escalade and driven to Florida.
That’s where she befriended Hutchinson at seaside eatery in Fort Myers. According to the charges, the two shared drinks and dinner on April 4 before they returned to Hutchinson’s rented condo. Surveillance video showed Riess driving away in Hutchinson’s car the next day. Hutchinson was found dead in unit 404 of the Marina Village at Snug Harbor on April 9.
Riess, whose penchant for gambling earned her the nickname “Losing Streak Lois,” was on the run for 10 days until federal authorities acting on a tip arrested her at a restaurant on South Padre Island, Texas. While eluding authorities, Riess allegedly used Hutchinson’s credit card to pay for a hotel room and order room service and she withdrew $5,000 from Hutchinson’s bank account. She also stopped at a casino in Louisiana, according to charges.
Riess was extradited back to Florida where she has been held in Lee County jail.
Riess has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, grand theft, grand theft of a motor vehicle and criminal use of personal identification.
In laying out their case, investigators have released thousands of images of evidence they collected from crime scenes and hotel rooms where Riess stayed before she was caught. Images show a bullet hole in the wall of the bathroom where Hutchinson was found, pools of blood on the bathroom floor and shower stall, and a bloodstained pink baseball cap similar to one that Hutchinson had been wearing April 4.
A Lee County grand jury in June issued an indictment of first-degree murder with a firearm, and the Florida State Attorney’s Office later filed its intent to seek the death penalty.
Murder charges are still pending in Minnesota. Riess has been charged in Dodge County with forging $11,000 in checks from her husband’s business account.