The last minutes of Melissa Ann Riley’s death were spent being brutally beaten and raped in a tent pitched at the based of a shopping center.
Riley’s admitted rapist and killer, Kenneth Allen Hayes, 65, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Thursday morning.
Riley’s daughter testified she last saw her mother two days before her Nov. 6, 2020, murder after she picked her up from the hospital after undergoing cancer treatment.
Riley had a tracheostomy and was still wearing her bracelet when her body was found inside the blood drenched tent at the bottom of the hill below the Home Depot.
“You stole my mom’s life,” Riley’s daughter said to Hayes as he sat at the defendant’s table. “She never got a chance to reconcile any relationship. I tried to get her to come home with me but she insisted on being dropped off at FISH, which is where she wanted to go.”
Hayes said he agreed he should be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, saying he felt that the circumstances of the crime called for the penalty.
“My actions were pretty brutal,” he said at sentencing. “I would prefer to do life without parole and make prison my home.”
Prosecutor Matthew Johnson put primary investigator Nadine Chrzanowski on the stand to remind Hayes of what he did to Riley.
“I don’t want him to go away saying he blacked out without reminding him that he raped Melissa Riley to death,” Johnson said. “He’s spent 40 years as a predator. Every time he’s been released he’s done it again.”
Hayes has two convictions for lewdness, including one in Douglas County in 1993, where he was sent to prison for threatening to kill a 12-year-old girl if she told anyone about the abuse. He was sentenced to five years in prison to be served consecutively with other charges in 1993.
He has been in custody without bail since he was arrested.