South Georgia boxer Yathomas Riley has been charged with the murder of his wife, a local emergency room physician found shot in the head earlier this month inside the couple’s Leesburg home.
Authorities told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Riley has suggested that his wife committed suicide — a similar defense to the one that, three years ago, led to his acquittal on attempted murder charges in Florida.
“This is one of those cases where he’s essentially claiming that he has no knowledge of how she died,” the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Mike Walsingham said Tuesday. “And is pretty much indicating that she shot herself.”
According to information previously released by the GBI, Riley called 911 shortly after 8:30 a.m. on July 10 to report that he had found his wife, 34-year-old Dr. Lisa Marie Riley, unresponsive inside their Northampton Road home. Emergency medical personnel pronounced her dead at the scene, and an autopsy later determined that she’d died of a gunshot wound to the head.
Yathomas Riley — a former national Gold Gloves champion known as “Terrible Thomas the Punisher” and the proprietor of an Albany establishment called Riley’s Boxing Gym — was arrested at the scene. At the time, his arrest was not directly connected to his wife’s death.
He was still in the Lee County jail Monday when new charges of murder, felony murder and aggravated assault were filed against him.
‘I got my life back’
On Aug. 17, 2012, Yathomas Riley walked out of a different jail, the Miami-Dade Pre-Trial Detention Center, as a free man. He had been incarcerated for nearly two years on attempted murder charges, criminal accusations filed against him following the shooting of Koketia King, a woman described as his on-again, off-again girlfriend.
King, a Florida City corrections officer, survived the ordeal and told authorities that Riley shot her three times during an argument. Riley contended that King shot herself.
A series of investigative articles by the Miami New Times led to the discovery of inconsistent statements by King, and authorities to drop the charges against Riley.
“Although it is evident to the state that the defendant was the one who shot the victim,” prosecutors wrote in a case-closing memo, according to the New Times, “the fact that the victim repeatedly lied to both police and prosecutors about a key piece of evidence in the case has fatally hindered the State’s ability to prosecute it.”
After his acquittal, Riley moved to the Albany area and married the former Lisa Amodio, a doctor whom he’d met years prior in New York.
“I got my life back and my future back and my family back,” Riley told the New Times. “Justice has been served.”
‘Taken as a whole’
Five weeks before Lisa Riley’s death, she told police her husband pointed a handgun at her head while accusing her of cheating. He was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault and one of simple battery.
“He apparently held a gun to her on three different occasions,” Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals said of the June 14 incident at the couple’s home. “During one of those times, he had his legs wrapped around her neck and upper chest area.”
As a condition of the bond later granted in the case, Yathomas Riley was not supposed to have “any weapons at all,” Rachals said. Authorities, however, found multiple weapons at his home earlier this month when responding to the scene of his wife’s death.
They asked a magistrate judge to revoke his bond, and Riley was sent back to the Lee County jail.
Eleven days later, he was charged with murder.
Walsingham, the GBI spokesman, declined Tuesday to discuss what led authorities to file the new charges.
“Everything was taken as a whole,” he said.
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