Lois Riess pleads guilty to First-Degree murder, sentenced to life in prison

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Mugshot of Lois Reiss. (Credit: Lee County Sheriff's Office)
Mugshot of Lois Reiss. (Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office)

A grandmother accused of killing a woman on Fort Myers Beach was in court Tuesday. Lois Riess withdrew her previous plea of not guilty to enter a guilty plea, receiving a sentence of life in prison.

The murder left investigators chasing Riess across the country after she killed Pamela Hutchinson, 59, on Fort Myers Beach to steal her identity.

On April 6, 2018, surveillance video captured Riess leaving the scene of the crime on Fort Myers Beach and getting into Hutchinson’s car at a condo.

Chaos unfolded three days later after Hutchinson’s body was found on her bathroom floor by a property manager. Hutchinson’s relatives told us she was in town to help a close friend.

Riess was also indicted on two counts of murder in Minnesota for killing her husband.

The first count is Murder in the First Degree, Premeditated with a penalty of life imprisonment without release. The second count is Murder in the Second Degree, Intent, with a maximum penalty of 40 years in jail.

Riess was indicted in June 2018 by a grand jury for charges of 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 of $5,000 or more, according to the state attorney’s office.

The State withdrew the possibility of the death penalty in exchange for the guilty plea. Hutchinson’s family was supportive of the decision as they sought for her to be incarcerated for life.

Chief Assistant State Attorney Richard Montcalvo said, “We feel this is an appropriate resolution to an awful case, just a case but we believe that justice has been done here for the family and for the citizens of Southwest Florida.”

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