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‘He didn’t believe I would’: Sister of double-murder suspect runs over drunken son, police say
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‘He didn’t believe I would’: Sister of double-murder suspect runs over drunken son, police say

‘He Didn’t Believe I Would’: Sister of Double-Murder Suspect Allegedly Ran Over Drunken Son

‘He didn’t believe I would’: Sister of double-murder suspect runs over drunken son, police say

The sister of a Minnesota woman accused of killing a stranger to steal her identity in Florida last year is now facing criminal charges of her own after investigators say she grew angry at her intoxicated son and ran him over with her SUV. 

Cynthia Lea Grund, 58, of Salem Township, was jailed on suspicion of second-degree assault and reckless driving. Olmstead County Jail records indicate she has since been released. 

>> Read more trending news

Olmstead County deputies were called Monday evening to Grund’s home, where they found her 37-year-old son, identified by the Minneapolis Star Tribune as Jason Finstad, suffering from significant lower body injuries, a Sheriff’s Office news release said. The man had been run over by a vehicle. 

South Padre Island Police Department via AP/Lee County Jail
Cynthia Grund’s sister, Lois Ann Riess, 56, of Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, is pictured in mugshots taken, at left, in South Padre Island, Texas, on April 19, 2018, and, at right, in Fort Myers, Florida, 10 days later following her extradition from Texas. Riess is charged in the April 5, 2018, slaying of Pamela Hutchinson, 59, in Fort Myers and is a suspect in the March 2018 shooting death of her husband, David Riess, on their Minnesota farm.
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‘Losing Streak Lois’ back in Florida to face charges in ‘lookalike’ slaying

Photo Credit: South Padre Island Police Department via AP/Lee County Jail
Cynthia Grund’s sister, Lois Ann Riess, 56, of Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, is pictured in mugshots taken, at left, in South Padre Island, Texas, on April 19, 2018, and, at right, in Fort Myers, Florida, 10 days later following her extradition from Texas. Riess is charged in the April 5, 2018, slaying of Pamela Hutchinson, 59, in Fort Myers and is a suspect in the March 2018 shooting death of her husband, David Riess, on their Minnesota farm.

Investigators determined that Grund had run over her son with a 2004 Ford Explorer, the news release said

According to detectives, Finstad was very intoxicated when he began walking down the rural driveway to go to a friend’s house. His mother and stepfather no longer wanted him staying at their home. 

Grund drove down the driveway to pick Finstad up and drive him to the friend’s house, the news release said. Finstad refused to get in the SUV.

“Why don’t you just run me over,” he allegedly said before lying in the driveway in front of Grund’s vehicle. 

“Grund then backed the vehicle up and intentionally ran over the victim,” the news release said. “Grund admitted to her actions and at one point made a comment to the effect, ‘He didn't believe I would. He has been drinking all day. We gave him a chance.’”

Grund was taken into custody at the scene.

>> Related story: ‘Losing Streak Lois,’ killer grandma wanted in 2 slayings nabbed near U.S.-Mexico border

Finstad underwent surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester to repair damage to his pelvis. He also suffered head injuries in the incident, investigators said. 

He was in fair condition as of Tuesday, the Star Tribune reported.

According to the newspaper, Grund is the sister of Lois Ann Riess, 57, of Blooming Prairie, who is being held in Florida on a charge of first-degree murder in the April 5 slaying of Pamela Hutchinson, 59, of Bradenton. 

Riess was arrested April 19 on Texas’ South Padre Island after a multistate string of crimes that investigators allege began with the shooting death of her husband, David Riess, 54, at their worm farm. Saturday will mark a year since David Riess’ decomposing body was found.

Authorities said David Riess had been dead for several days by the time his body was discovered.

The Star Tribune reported last month that a .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun found in Lois Riess’ Texas motel room matched shell casings found at the scene of her husband’s death. Dodge County investigators have turned their case over to the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office for review. 

Lois Riess, who authorities nicknamed “Losing Streak Lois” for her penchant for gambling, fled south to Florida -- stopping at a casino on the way. Riess’ abandoned Cadillac Escalade, which Minnesota investigators alleged she left the state in after gunning down her husband, was found in a park in Fort Myers, Florida. 

Surveillance footage from a restaurant two blocks from Hutchinson’s borrowed timeshare condo showed the victim chatting with Riess at the bar on April 5, the day authorities believe she was shot to death. Hutchinson’s body was found four days later in the bathroom of the condo. 

See the footage of Lois Riess chatting with Pamela Hutchinson below, courtesy of the Fort Myers News-Press. 

Investigators believe Hutchinson was killed so Riess could assume her identity. They also believe Hutchinson was shot with the same gun that killed David Riess.

According to Riess’ Florida indictment, Lois Riess stole credit cards, money, jewelry, sunglasses and other property from Hutchinson after she was killed. Surveillance footage from Hutchinson’s condo complex showed Riess walking into the parking lot, getting into Hutchinson’s Acura TL and driving away. 

The indictment also alleged that Riess went to a Fort Myers bank and used Hutchinson’s identification to withdraw $5,000 from the dead woman’s account before leaving town.

Riess was next spotted the following day at an Ocala Hilton hotel, where she used Hutchinson’s identification to check into a room, Lee County officials said. She stayed there the nights of April 6 and 7, according to investigators. 

Surveillance footage from inside and outside the hotel showed both Riess and the stolen Acura. According to the News-Press, a white straw hat Riess wore in the footage belonged to Hutchinson. 

While in Ocala, Riess is accused of withdrawing another $500 from Hutchinson’s bank account. 

From there, Riess is accused of making her way west across the southeastern U.S., making several stops in Louisiana -- including at another casino -- before being seen driving the Acura around Corpus Christi, Texas. She attempted to get $200 from Hutchinson’s account at a gas station, but the effort failed, the News-Press reported

Riess used her own ID to claim a $1,500 jackpot at a Louisiana casino, the newspaper reported. 

AP Photos
Florida prosecutors have announced that they are seeking the death penalty against Lois Ann Riess. The 56-year-old Minnesota grandmother is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Pamela Hutchinson, who was shot to death April 5, 2018, inside the Fort Myers Beach condo in which she was staying. Investigators said that Riess, who is also suspected of killing her husband on their rural Blooming Prairie farm the month before, targeted the 59-year-old Hutchinson because they resembled one another and she could assume use Hutchinson's identity to continue fleeing from authorities.
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Florida seeks death penalty against ‘killer grandma’ accused of killing lookalike for identity

Photo Credit: AP Photos
Florida prosecutors have announced that they are seeking the death penalty against Lois Ann Riess. The 56-year-old Minnesota grandmother is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Pamela Hutchinson, who was shot to death April 5, 2018, inside the Fort Myers Beach condo in which she was staying. Investigators said that Riess, who is also suspected of killing her husband on their rural Blooming Prairie farm the month before, targeted the 59-year-old Hutchinson because they resembled one another and she could assume use Hutchinson's identity to continue fleeing from authorities.

Riess remained at large until April 19, when she was arrested on South Padre Island in Texas. Dodge County Sheriff Scott Rose said a man recognized Riess when she walked into a restaurant on the island, located about 25 miles from the Mexican border, and looked at a menu.

Riess did not stay to eat at the restaurant, identified as Dirty Al’s Seafood, but the man called police to report the sighting. A South Padre Island police officer and a federal marshal responded to the area and spotted the white Acura that had been stolen from Hutchinson at another nearby restaurant, the Sea Ranch. 

Riess was taken into custody as she sat at the bar inside, eating a meal and chatting with fellow patrons. She was subsequently extradited back to Florida to face charges in Hutchinson’s homicide.  

Riess was indicted June 6 in the case, according to court records. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in Hutchinson’s slaying. 

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Authorities arrested an 11th person Tuesday in connection with the ambush shooting last week of former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic. >> Read more trending news  In a press briefing Wednesday evening, the Dominican Republic’s lead prosecutor said that Ortiz was not the target of a shooting.  Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez said the target was another man, dressed similarly to Ortiz, who was seated next to him the night of June 9. Rodríguez said the shooting was orchestrated by a member of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel, who remains on the run. He did not immediately describe a motive. An unidentified official told The Associated Press that Franklin Junior Merán was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of renting one of the cars used in the June 9 shooting in Santo Domingo. Ten other suspects have already been ordered to spend a year in preventive detention as the investigation continues, including the accused shooter. Authorities say they are looking for at least three other suspects, including the man they believe paid the hit men. Ortiz continued recovering Wednesday in the intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Ortiz’s wife, Tiffany Ortiz, said doctors upgraded Ortiz’s condition to good Tuesday. “We remain grateful to everyone who has helped David through this ordeal, both in the Dominican Republic and here in Boston,” Tiffany Ortiz said in a statement released by the Red Sox. “David’s journey to good health has been bolstered by the many expressions of love that have come to us from across the globe. Your support has lifted his spirits tremendously during this challenging time.” Authorities continue to investigate. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A man said his fiancee put eye drops into his soft drink Saturday at their Rowan County home. >> Read more trending news  The man told authorities he confronted his fiancee, Jaymee Cruz, after he said he watched her put the drops in his Coca-Cola. He then locked himself and their baby in the bathroom and called 911. Deputies said when they arrived at the scene, Cruz at first denied putting eye drops in the drink, but later said she did it to make the man sick. Cruz said she got the idea from the movie 'Wedding Crashers' and did it because she wanted to move out of the home with their daughter, authorities said. Consuming eye drops is extremely dangerous and can be deadly. The main ingredient reduces redness in the eyes, but when ingested it can rapidly reach the blood and central nervous systems. It's not the first time a person has been accused of using eye drops to poison their significant other. Last year, York County investigators charged Lana Clayton in her husband’s death after she said she put eye drops in his water, WSOC-TV reported. Stephen Clayton’s toxicology report showed he had poisonous levels of the key ingredient in eye drops.
  • The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office arrested a grandmother in DeLand after she was spotted buying heroin with her 2-year-old grandson in the car. (APP users click here to see tweet and video) On Tuesday, a deputy pulled over Amy Moreland, 43, after seeing her involved in what looked like a drug deal in the Spring Hill area of DeLand.  The 2 year-old boy was in the car during the traffic stop. “Grandma’s out here buying dope with you. That’s not good,” one of the deputies is heard in body camera footage released by the sheriff’s office. An incident report says heroin turned up during a search of Moreland’s car.  She was charged with possession of heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia and child neglect.  The boy was turned over to a family member. Towards the end of the video, the deputy explains to Moreland how the drugs had contained a lethal dose of Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. “So that bag just opens up and it blows through the air, and he breaths it in.  ‘A’ he’s gonna be high and ‘B’ it’s gonna kill him.  And that never crosses your mind,” the deputy said. The tweet from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office read, in part, “That's unthinkable to most of us, but addiction makes the unthinkable happen.” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood tweeted, “Another nice job by a deputy who found an innocent kid in a sad situation.” (Tweet)
  • Police arrested a 33-year-old man Monday on suspicion of intentionally driving into pedestrians in Jefferson City, injuring a 61-year-old man and killing a pregnant woman and her 2-year-old son, according to investigators. >> Read more trending news  Authorities said William David Phillips, of Jefferson City, swerved to intentionally hit Tillman Gunter, 61, while driving west on East Main Street on Monday afternoon. Police said Phillips traveled less than a mile before swerving again, striking Sierra Wilson Cahoon, 30, and her 2-year-old son, Nolan Cahoon. Cahoon, Nolan and Cahoon’s unborn child were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, according to investigators. Gunter was taken to a hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, police said. Authorities were called around 3:30 p.m. Monday after Phillips lodged the car he was driving into a building for Sustainable Aquatics, a fish hatchery, according to The Citizen Tribune and the Knoxville News Sentinel. Witness Bill Ray Jones told WBIR-TV he heard Phillips yelling that the “government told him to do it” as he tried to flee from the scene of the crash. 'He knew he had hit (Cahoon) and I'm sure he did because he was talking all crazy,' he told the news station. Sustainable Aquatics owner John Carberry told the News Sentinel he arrived at the scene of the crash within minutes Monday and found Cahoon and her son dead on the sidewalk. “There was a hole in the building and one of my employees ran out,” Carberry told the News Sentinel. “She had minor injuries. She ran up to the main building, and the perpetrator ran out of the hole and ran up and some local citizens grabbed him.” The crash ruptured several fish tanks and destroyed four fish systems, Carberry told The Citizen Tribune and the News Sentinel. He estimated about 2,000 wild-caught fish died after the crash caused more than 10,000 gallons of water to rush from the tanks. “I just want to let the police do their job and mourn the passing of this mother and child,” Carberry told The Citizen Tribune. “It’s very sad.” Phillips, of Jefferson City, was arrested on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder. Authorities filed an additional murder charge against Phillips on Wednesday for the death of Cahoon's unborn child, WATE reported. In a news release, police said investigators believed 'this was an intentional act of violence toward randomly chosen pedestrians. “Investigators have determined that Phillips did not know the victims,” police said. In an arrest warrant obtained Wednesday by the News Sentinel, authorities said Phillips told investigators “a voice told him that he needed to go kill meth addicts.” After Phillips spotted Cahoon and her son, 'He said the voice told him that the baby stroller had meth in it so he intentionally drove into (the mother and child) ... killing them both,' the warrant said, according to the News Sentinel. Records from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department showed he remained jailed Wednesday. A spokesperson for Carson-Newman University, a Christian university in Jefferson City, told WBIR-TV that Cahoon and Nolan were the wife and son of Matt Cahoon, an assistant athletic trainer at the school. “Our hearts are breaking for one of our own,” Carson-Newman University interim President Paul Percy said Tuesday in a statement. “We take comfort in knowing that God also feels our pain and hears our prayers. Because of this, we ask for prayers for Matt and his family now and in the days ahead.” Officials at First Steps Preschool at the First United Methodist Church told WBIR-TV Nolan was a happy student who always gave out hugs and high-fives. 'He was a joy,' the preschool’s director, Jessica Lawson, told WBIR-TV. 'He would walk through the door smiling every morning.' Officials at Carson-Newman University started a fund to benefit the Cahoon family. Those wishing to contribute can donate online to The Randall and Kay O’Brien Benevolent Fund on the university’s website.
  • A man who stabbed a New York City man early Tuesday also partially severed his own finger during the attack, police said. >> Read more trending news  The 35-year-old victim, who was repeatedly stabbed, lived in the Bronx, WPIX reported. According to police, the attacker and victim were arguing outside a bar at 1:15 a.m. when the stabbing occurred. The victim was stabbed in the back, while the attacker partially cut a finger on his left hand, WPIX reported. The assailant then ran away, police said. Police said the attacker appeared to be in his mid- to late 20s, the television station reported. The man had a beard and tattoos on his right forearm and upper right arm, WPIX reported. Police said the man was last seen wearing a red baseball cap, white T-shirt and dark colored shorts, the television station reported.

Washington Insider

  • Even with no agreement as yet between the White House and Congress on budget levels for 2020, the House on Wednesday approved a package of four funding bills worth nearly $1 trillion for next year, and started work on five other spending measures for the operations of the federal government, with no clear idea of what President Donald Trump would accept for next year's budget. The first spending 'minibus' included $713 billion for the military, and nearly $270 billion in funding covering a range of health, education, labor, energy, and water programs, along with foreign aid, and money for the State Department. The 226-203 vote was mainly along party lines, as all Republicans were joined by seven Democrats in opposing the bill, even though it included funding for the military, a top GOP priority. Republicans though objected to provisions in the bill which would prevent the President from shifting money from the Pentagon to construction of a wall along the southern border with Mexico. The House then moved on to a second funding package - this one combines five different spending bills for an array of government agencies, from the Department of Justice to NASA, agricultural programs, the EPA, National Park Service, military construction, the VA, transportation, housing, and more. 290 different amendments were made in order to the second 'minibus' plan, as House Democrats try to get as many of 12 funding bills passed this summer, in an effort to prevent a government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins on October 1. But there's one problem with that effort - no agreement has been reached with the White House on exactly how much should be spent in 2020 - meaning all of this work could be for naught. 'This bill is going nowhere,' said Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR), the top Republican on the House Budget Committee. 'It is a waste of time,' Womack said on the House floor, as Republicans protested the lack of a budget agreement for next year. The action on next year's spending bills came as Capitol Hill talks involving top lawmakers and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin produced no agreement on how to deal with current budget 'caps' which limit how much can be spent in 2020. If there is no deal, automatic spending cuts known as the 'sequester' would kick in, slashing billions from the military and non-defense spending programs, a politically unpalatable choice for both parties. For example, total military spending in 2019 is $716 billion; President Trump wants $750 billion in 2020. But under the spending limits from a 2011 bipartisan budget deal, the cap on defense spending in 2020 would be $576 billion, down from the current spending levels of $647 billion, a reduction of $71 billion. The sequester would cut domestic spending less, because it has had a smaller rate of increase over the last two years when compared to the defense budget; non-defense spending would have to be reduced to $542 billion, a cut of $55 billion. 'While we did not reach an agreement, today’s conversation advanced our bipartisan discussions,' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer in a statement, as they urged the President to stay on the sidelines. 'If the House and Senate could work their will without interference from the President, we could come to a good agreement much more quickly,' the top Democrats added.