Man admits first degree murder charge

Kenneth Hayes

Kenneth Hayes


A homeless man faces life in prison without parole after he admitted Monday to raping a woman to death in a tent in November.

Melissa Ann Riley’s body was found inside a tent smeared with blood near the Home Depot in Indian Hills.

Kenneth Allen Hayes, 64, entered a guilty plea to first-degree murder in connection with Riley’s death.

According to court documents, Riley was raped with an object that severed an artery and she bled to death.

During Monday’s hearing, Hayes agreed that he tortured Riley to death when she was mentally or physically unable to stop him.

Sentencing was set for Aug. 26. Hayes is not eligible for probation.

During a May 21 preliminary hearing Douglas County Sheriff’s Office personnel testified that Hayes told them he got drunk and blacked out. When he sobered up he said he found Riley dead in the tent with him.

A deputy testified that when he asked Hayes a standard question about whether he’d recently suffered a significant loss, he replied “Well, I just murdered someone, that’s why I’m here.”

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.


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