Riess pleads not guilty in death of Florida look-alike woman

Published 7:48 am Tuesday, May 15, 2018

By Tim Harlow

Star Tribune Via The Associated Press

Lois Ann Riess has pleaded not guilty to killing a Florida look-alike, according to documents filed in the Lee County Clerk of Courts office.

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Riess, 56, of Blooming Prairie, submitted the plea in writing and waived arraignment on Thursday as she faces second-degree murder charges in connection to the death of Pamela Hutchinson, who was found shot to death April 9 in a Fort Myers Beach condo.

Authorities believe that Riess targeted Hutchinson because of her similar appearance, then shot her before making off with her car, cash and identity. Riess remains in custody in the Lee County Jail.

Dubbed Losing Streak Lois, she also faces the additional charges of grand theft, grand theft of a motor vehicle, criminal use of personal identification in Florida.

Riess is also suspected of killing her husband in the couples Blooming Prairie home in March before fleeing to Florida. Charges are still pending.

Riess was the subject of a nationwide hunt that ended on April 19 when agents with the U.S. marshals office arrested her at a restaurant on South Padre Island, Texas.

Authorities began searching for Riess March 23 after they found David Riess dead. During her time on the run, she allegedly stopped at an Iowa casino, then surfaced in Fort Myers Beach. Surveillance video on April 5 captured Riess chatting up Hutchinson at the Smokin Oyster Brewery in Fort Myers Beach, then at the Marina Village at Snug Harbor condos where Hutchinson was staying. Four days later, Hutchinson as found shot to death in unit 404 with a towel over her body and another towel stuffed under the bathroom door to block the smell of decomposition.

During her time on the run, Riess is accused of withdrawing $5,000 from Hutchinsons bank account, using her credit card to pay for a hotel room and room service and driving her car to Texas. Along the way she also stopped at casinos in Louisiana, even winning $1,500 at one of them.

A tip from an alert restaurant worker led authorities to Riess.

In Minnesota, Riess has been charged in Dodge County for allegedly forging $11,000 in checks from her husbands business account. She will be returned to Minnesota to face the charges after proceedings in Florida are complete.

No date was listed for Riess next court appearance in Florida.