Zumbro Falls man charged with murder of his father

James Edward Riley Photo: Wabasha County Jail. James Edward Riley

Josh Skluzacek
Updated: March 08, 2021 04:17 PM
Created: March 08, 2021 02:01 PM

A man has been charged in connection to the murder of his father in Zumbro Falls last week.

Court records show 44-year-old James Edward Riley faces one count of second-degree murder in the death of his father, 73-year-old Edward William Riley.

According to a criminal complaint, law enforcement was called to James Riley's home on the 59000 block of County Road 6 at 6:18 p.m. Friday.

Man arrested in murder of his father in Zumbro Falls

The complaint states, as 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.

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.

Riley was arrested Friday night. His first court appearance is set for March 23.

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