Homeless man held to answer in case of woman killed in tent

Kenneth Hayes

Kenneth Hayes


A homeless man accused of raping and murdering a woman he was sharing a tent with last fall was bound over to district court on Friday.

Melissa Ann Riley, 56, was dead when deputies responded to a spot below the Home Depot in Indian Hills on Nov. 6 after someone reported finding her body.

Kenneth Allen Hayes, 64, underwent a preliminary hearing in East Fork Justice Court where it was found there was slight or marginal evidence against Hayes to support the charges. The finding is not a determination of guilt.

While deputies were securing the scene, Hayes approached them, and said he was going to kill himself but he returned to turn himself in for taking the woman’s life.

During the conversation, Hayes told the deputy he got drunk, blacked out and when he came back to reality found Riley dead in the tent with him.

While he wouldn’t talk to an investigator, during his intake questionnaire, a deputy asked a standard question about whether he’d recently suffered a significant loss.

“Well, I just murdered someone, that’s why I’m here,” the deputy testified Hayes said.

Washoe County Medical Examiner Laura Knight testified that Riley died of exsanguination after her iliac artery was severed during an assault.

Hayes is represented by attorneys John Malone and Brian Filter.

Johnson played the body cam footage from the deputy who first spoke with Hayes, where he identified Riley.

“Essentially, Ms. Riley was raped to death,” prosecutor Matt Johnson said in his closing.

Hayes is scheduled to appear in Douglas County District Court on June 22.

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 since he was arrested.


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