Wabasha man sentenced to 36 years for March 2021 murder of his father

(ABC 6 News) – A Wabasha County man has been sentenced to 36 years in prison in the March 2021 murder of his father, Edward Riley.

James Edward Riley, 46, pleaded guilty in May to second-degree murder as part of a plea deal that dismissed a count of first-degree premeditated murder. Riley is credited for 502 days of time served.

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The complaint states, that on March 5, 2021, a deputy arrived at the home with his squad’s lights on, James Riley was leaving the property. His mother told the deputy she’d left the property at about 11 a.m. on Friday to go to the grocery store.

When she returned home at about 2 p.m., she couldn’t find her husband. She noticed the vehicle was parked in a strange location in their yard and eventually opened the trunk to find her husband covered with a tarp, along with a pail of dirt and a hoe. She called 911 and woke her son, who left the home a short time later.

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Riley didn’t return home until 8:45 p.m., the complaint states. It adds that he spoke to law enforcement and denied hurting his father. However, he stated his father was “mean” to everyone and was getting “meaner.”

Eventually, the complaint states he admitted to hitting his father on the head with a hammer a couple of times and then stabbing him with a knife.

Riley said he then got a tractor to scoop up his father’s body and move it to the trunk of his father’s car. The complaint states law enforcement found a pool of blood in the tractor’s bucket.

Riley’s mother told law enforcement that he was “difficult to get along with,” according to the complaint. She added that Riley was difficult to get along with and he felt he should get the farm. She added that he had made past comments about being better off without his father.