Michael Lynn Riley, 51, was executed by lethal injection on 19 May 2009 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder and robbery of a convenience store clerk.
On 1 February 1986, Riley, then 27, entered a convenience store in Quitman in northeastern Texas, carrying a concealed butcher knife. Riley was a frequent customer in the store. Clerk Wynona Harris, 23, told him to help himself to the ice cream he wanted while she counted some money. While Harris had her back turned to Riley, he came up behind her and stabbed her to death. He left the store with a cloth bag containing $1,110 in cash. A customer came in later and found Harris's body behind the counter. She was stabbed 31 times.
A set of bloody footprints led from the store in the direction of Riley's home a few blocks away. Detectives followed the footprints and found the murder weapon and a money bag. Later that day, Riley, who had several felony and misdemeanor convictions and was well-known to law enforcement authorities in Quitman, went to the Wood County sheriff's office after hearing that authorities were looking for him. Riley indicated that he knew something about the murder, but he denied being at the store that morning. He was allowed to leave the sheriff's office, but after a milk delivery driver informed authorities that he had spotted a man in distinctive coveralls hanging around outside the store that morning, he was brought back in for questioning. Riley then led authorities to a pair of bloodstained coveralls hidden under some brush in a field near his house. In one of the pockets was $970 in cash. He then confessed to the crime.
Riley had prior felony convictions and two prior prison sentences. In March 1977, he was sentenced to 2 years in prison for burglary and larceny. He was discharged in November 1978. In January 1980, he was sentenced to 9 years for burglary of a building. He was paroled in July 1983 and discharged in July 1985. He also had several convictions for forgery and writing bad checks.
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