Back with a smug smile
How can someone accused of murder be smiling?
That’s what many people were asking themselves after they saw last week’s newspaper offering the most recent booking photo of Lois Riess from the Steele County Detention Center. I know I was one of them a little taken back by her smug smile. Though she is behind bars and we know she isn’t going anywhere, it still was an eerie and unsettling feeling.
Lois has become a common household name across southern Minnesota and even throughout the nation after she allegedly went on a killing spree of her husband, David, in their rural Blooming Prairie home and a look alike woman she befriended for a few days in Florida.
At the time, Lois dominated the local headlines capturing most of our front pages and elsewhere inside for many weeks with horrendous details of what took place in Dodge County and Florida. It rivaled some of the most popular murder mysteries. In my 10 years with this newspaper, we have never had another story that has captured so much public interest as the Lois Riess case. And I do not believe that interest has waned any since the murders took place.
For the first time since the alleged murder of her husband in March 2018, Lois is back in Minnesota in custody awaiting the Dodge County court case. The COVID-19 outbreak delayed the process for a few months.
As she gave off a glimpse of what it’s like being back after being away for two years, one can only wonder what is going through her mind. I can’t imagine it’s anything pleasant, but then again who knows. I know I wouldn’t be smiling if I had been accused of killing two people.
Over the coming months, Lois will be making her way through the Minnesota court system. If last week is any indication, it will take some time. She pleaded not guilty to the Dodge County charges. However, that’s not totally unexpected as she will have to find a Minnesota public defender to help her navigate through the system and peal through the voluminous reports and evidence that law enforcement has spent hundreds of hours putting together.
It’s unknown where she’ll end up, but my best guess is the women’s state prison in Shakopee. That will still need to be determined by the courts. Dodge County Judge Jodi Williamson will ultimately decide Lois’ fate.
Smug smile or not, one thing is certain. Dodge County investigators are ready to go in hot pursuit of justice for the Riess family.