Could mental health be used as defense for accused killer Lois Riess?

Questions are surfacing over accused killer Lois Riess’ mental health status and whether or not this could change the high-profile murder trial.

Riess is accused of fatally shooting her husband in Minnesota then stealing his money to gamble. The 56-year-old woman was later wanted in connection with the death of Pamela Hutchinson on Fort Myers Beach — launching a nation-wide search.

Investigators said Riess’ movements were cold and calculated, and many still wonder what sparked such a violent cross-country crime spree.

More: Local couple says Lois Riess ‘came to Fort Myers Beach because of us’

According to the State Attorney’s Office, Texas officials claim Riess has a psychosis and refused to take medications. But the question now is if that could be use as her defense?

Mental Health Counselor Marci Wise said most people who suffer from psychosis are not dangerous, but if not treated, “People can act out in violent ways.”

“Sometimes you can have hypo-mania which can make you feel grandiose, like there’s nothing you can’t do,” Wise said.

Psychosis can stem from a number of illnesses, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, according to Wise. People can experience highs — like they’re untouchable — but could also hit rock bottom.

More: Accused killer Lois Riess denied bond during first court appearance

Investigators said surveillance video from the condo where Hutchinson was killed appears to show Riess upset and possibly crying, just hours after Hutchinson was last seen alive.

But is that enough proof?

“I think there would need to be documentation, especially since there was such a long well worn pattern of her thinking this out,” Wise said.

Wise said most patients see doctors for years, and Riess would have to have seen many if she was on anti-psychotics.

“If she has sought care for psychosis, then they might have a case but if it’s just trying to say it was momentary, then I think that’s hard to say,” Wise said.

Riess refused a court-appointed attorney on Tuesday. She is expected to appear back in court on Thursday for a detention hearing.

Reporter:Nicole Valdes
Writer:Katherine Viloria
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