Charges: Minnesota man killed his father with hammer, knife

The 44-year-old admitted to killing his father, court documents say.
Publish date:
Screen Shot 2021-03-08 at 2.44.41 PM

A 44-year-old Minnesota man has been charged with the murder of his father, whose body was wrapped in a tarp in the trunk of a car on March 5. 

According to the charging documents filed in Wabasha County District Court, 44-year-old James E. Riley, of Zumbro Falls, admitted to hitting his father twice with a hammer and then stabbed him. 

The Wabasha County Sheriff's Office reported that Edward Riley, 73, was found dead at 59376 County Road 6 in rural Zumbro Falls after a 911 call was placed at 6:18 p.m. Friday.

The criminal complaint states James Riley initially denied involvement in his father's day, only to ultimately break down crying during a police interview in which he said his father was “mean” to everyone and was getting “meaner." The charging document notes Riley was upset his father would let his mother travel and didn't buy her Christmas gifts. 

Riley then admitted to grabbing a hammer and hitting his father "a couple of times," the complaint says, with Riley telling authorities his father began making noises that he "didn't like" so he stabbed him. 

After stabbing him, James Riley confirmed to investigators he used a tractor to "scoop up the body" and put it in the trunk of his father's car. Police found blood in the bucket of the tractor. 

A bloody knife was also found in the kitchen sink of the residence. 

Riley has been charged with second-degree murder and faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted. 

Minnesota forecast with Novak Weather

Next Up


Walter Mondale dies at age of 93

His death was confirmed by family on Monday.

National Guard

Man charged in connection to shooting that injured National Guard troops

Four soldiers were inside a military vehicle that was shot at.

Chauvin trial

Walz declares emergency in Twin Cities, bringing in police from Ohio and Nebraska

The governor has asked the Legislature for emergency funding for the additional police.

derek chauvin court - closing arguments

Closing arguments in Derek Chauvin trial: Here's what was said

The jury listened to lengthy presentations from the prosecution and defense.


Man, 55, airlifted to a hospital after hit-and-run in Granite Falls

The passenger in the vehicle told police about the incident.

Minneapolis, unrest

Facebook labels Minneapolis 'high-risk,' will remove posts that incite violence

Facebook will remove posts that call for weapons to be brought to Minneapolis and anything that celebrates George Floyd's death.


After being sued, MyPillow is now suing Dominion Voting Systems

The company's lawsuit claims the voting system suppressed free speech and hurt its business relationships.

Chet Holmgren

Chet Holmgren makes his decision ... and it's Gonzaga

The Minnesota basketball phenom is following the footsteps of Jalen Suggs.

Sarah Glover

MPR News hires NBC's Sarah Glover as new managing editor

The experienced journalist was the first to serve two terms as president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

football play

Watch: Sixth-grader with cerebral palsy makes touchdown in Detroit Lakes

Kale Hannahs' classmates made sure he got a chance to play during recess.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, April 19

The latest from Minnesota health officials.


Hardy Wills-Traxler

Charges: Man stabbed his father, set his home on fire

The 25-year-old has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree arson.

police tape, crime scene

Man arrested for killing of his father in Wabasha County

The 73-year-old man was found dead at a home in rural Zumbro Falls.

Orancy Chea

Charge: St. Paul father lost his temper and fatally injured baby

According to a criminal complaint, the 23-year-old father admitted to losing his temper.

Thomas Allen Micklewright

Man charged with murder following deadly couples' night

A 44-year-old man is charged in the killing of a 65-year-old victim.

Steven Buford

Man, 21, charged with killing West St. Paul woman in front of 3 kids

The 21-year-old's relationship to the victim isn't defined in the charging document.

Charges: Blaine man shoots dead the wife who was divorcing him

The 46-year-old man called police saying he killed his wife.

Ryan Jazdzewski

Charges: Duluth man 'lost it' and stabbed wife 10-12 times

His 41-year-old wife died in the June 2 attack.

Jason Mesich

Charges: Bloomington man killed wife, turned gun on neighbors

The 12-year-old girl was holding a 1-year-old when she was shot, a GoFundMe explains.