MANTORVILLE, Minn. — Lois Riess pleaded not guilty Tuesday, July 7 on charges she murdered her husband in March 2018 and that she committed theft.
Riess appeared at her hearing in Dodge County District Court via a video call from the Steele County Jail where she is being held. Riess was seated behind glass windows in an orange jumpsuit while her attorney, Lauri Traub, sat in front of her on the other side of the glass.
Assistant Dodge County Attorney Crysta Parkin and Attorney Matthew Frank of the Minnesota Attorney General's Office also appeared via video conference. The hearing took less than 10 minutes. A pretrial date has not been set.
Riess was indicted in May 2019 by a Dodge County grand jury on charges of first-degree and second-degree murder. Riess’ husband, David Riess, was found shot to death in the couple’s Blooming Prairie home in March 2018. Lois Riess is also charged with a felony count of theft.
At the hearing Tuesday, Judge Jodi Williamson ordered Riess be held without bail on the murder charge and set a $10,000 conditional bail on the theft charge. Riess waived her right to argue bail at the hearing, but may make arguments on the topic at a later hearing.
On the theft charge, Riess is alleged to written close to $10,000 worth of checks from the business account of Prairie Wax Worm Farms LLC and then deposited them in her husband's personal account. Riess then wrote checks to herself from that account, according to court documents.
The bank reviewed the checks and believed there may be an inconsistency with the signatures on the checks from the transactions as compared to the signature card, according to court documents.
After her husband's murder, Riess led authorities on a four-week, nationwide manhunt that went through Fort Myers Beach, Fla. — where she was accused of a second murder — before ending with her arrest in South Padre Island, Texas.
Extradition paperwork was filed with a Florida court in March to have Riess returned to Minnesota to answer to the charges here. She was listed in custody at the Steele County Jail on July 3.
Riess is serving a life sentence in Florida for the murder of Pamela Hutchinson. Hutchinson, 59, of Bradenton, Fla., was found shot to death in a Fort Myers Beach condo on April 9, 2018.
In Lee County Court in Florida, Riess pleaded guilty in December 2019 to first-degree murder with a firearm, grand theft of a motor vehicle, grand theft and criminal use of personal identification information of a deceased individual.