Accused killer Lois Riess heads back to SWFL to face murder charge

Beach goers in SWFL are happy to hear accused killer Lois Riess is heading back to Lee County where she will face the consequences for shooting and killing an unsuspecting woman on Fort Myers Beach earlier this month.

Riess made it all the way to South Padre Island in Texas before being caught by authorities.

But some wonder why Riess isn’t facing more serious charges, like first-degree murder. Instead, she’s up against a charge of second-degree murder.

It’s a decision former prosecutor Mike Chinopolous says he agrees with.

“When we rush to judgement, we have a higher probability of getting it wrong,” he said.

The heightened charge is one that’s even tougher to prove, and the difference in consequence is life or death.

“Murder one has the potential of carrying with it the death penalty,” Chinopolous said.

He adds that prosecutors may have enough evidence to prove the murder itself, but not if or how it was planned.

“Charge her with murder two, because again they know they can prove that, they’ve got the evidence of that, keep investigating and if we get the evidence for murder one, then bump it up,” Chinopolous said.

Still, the notion of Riess sitting behind bars for life is a sentence beach goers say they can get behind.

The state attorney’s office says the charges were filed based on initial evidence. Only a grand jury can indite on a first-degree murder charge, but they say they won’t discuss that move until after it happens.

Reporter:Nicole Valdes
Writer:Erica Brown
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