Dodge County authorities have confirmed that a gun found in a Texas hotel room where Lois Riess had stayed before being arrested was likely the same weapon used in the fatal shooting of her husband.
Sheriff Scott Rose said a forensics report showed that shell casings found at the couple's Blooming Prairie home where David Riess' body was found March 23 matched those from the handgun.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension completed testing in late January after Florida officials released the .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun for forensics testing in Minnesota. Lois Riess is charged with murder in Florida.
"We've had our case ready since shortly after Lois was arrested, however it was important to the integrity of the case to have the forensics completed on the alleged murder weapon before formally charging Mrs. Riess," Rose said. "Once she was charged out in Florida, and we knew she wasn't going to get released down there, it allowed us the opportunity to take the time needed to prepare our case and wait for forensics to ensure we have the strongest case possible against Mrs. Riess before charging her."
Lois Riess, 56, was the subject of a national search after her husband was found dead and a woman was found fatally shot in a Fort Myers, Fla., condo.
She is being held in the Lee County, Fla., jail and has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Pamela Hutchinson. Riess is accused of fatally shooting Hutchinson, 59, because she had a similar appearance to Riess, according to charges.
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.
Authorities found the handgun while searching her room at a Motel 6 in Texas.
Riess has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, grand theft, grand theft of a motor vehicle and criminal use of personal identification.
Dodge County investigators submitted their report to the Minnesota Attorney General's Office last week for review. That office had offered to review the case for prosecution.