Yathomas Riley Attempted Murder Case: Bloody Letter Bolsters Boxer's Appeal
Two months ago we wrote about the bizarre case of Yathomas Riley, an undefeated heavyweight boxer from Florida City accused of trying to kill his girlfriend in 2010. Prosecutors claim that Riley shot Koketia King in a jealous rage. But the boxer and his family argue that King tried to kill herself after Riley discovered evidence of her involvement in a tax fraud ring and threatened to leave her.
"When I saw this letter I couldn't even believe it," says Riley's fiance Lisa Amodio. "Why are they trying so hard to cover this up?"
At the time of the shooting, King was a corrections officer at Dade Correctional Institution in Florida City. When cops arrived to her house in Homestead on June 10, 2010, they found her bleeding from bullet holes in her buttocks and face. Riley, who had called 911 claiming King had tried to kill herself, was comforting their three-year-old son.
Cops found the bloody letter on the floor of the room, but lead investigator Miami Dade detective Dalyn Nye admitted in court that she didn't read the evidence at the time.
The bloody letter found at the crime scene
When King survived the incident and told cops that Riley had shot her, the boxer was charged with attempted murder. He told police, however, that King had shot herself during an argument over the letter.
According to Riley, King had admitted to helping an inmate file an income tax refund from jail. The letter -- and others like it -- were evidence of a fraudulent tax ring involving King, other corrections officers, and inmates, Riley told cops.
But police didn't look into those claims, according to court transcripts. And when prosecutors asked Det. Nye about the letter, she dismissed it as harmless:
Asst. State Attorney Ana De La Rosa: And if you could please read out loud what that
letter says?Det. Nye: It says, "Baby Girl, what's up with you? I got
your letter real late tonight when I was about to go to
sleep, so I can't get into everything right now about what's
up with me at this time because I'm writing as fast as I can
before the lights go out. So when I write you again, I'll
let you know what's up. Well, what took you so long to
write me? I was thinking like my little sister haven't even
wrote me a letter to see how I'm doing but I understand. I
know you're going through some things right now but I will
always be here for you no matter what. You feel me? Well,
before I forget, here is your sister Sharina Williams' phone
number" -- and it lists the phone number...
De La Rosa: Anything about fraudulent income taxes on that letter?
Det. Nye: No, ma'am.
Yet, photos of the bloody letter provided to New Times raise serious questions about Nye's investigation. Not only is the number in the letter clearly a social security number (nine digits instead of 10), but it even matches the social belonging to Sharina Williams -- the person mentioned.
When contacted by New Times, Sharina Williams said that her identity had, indeed, been stolen when she was incarcerated in 2004 (for theft and fraud charges that a judge withheld adjudication on). False tax returns have been filed in her name ever since, she says.
"I contacted the IRS and the Social Security office," Williams says. "They have flags on my information
but no one has ever contacted me saying that they had found anyone involved."
She says she's never heard of Yathomas Riley or Koketia King, but she's angry over the identify theft.
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"People say that we're the criminals but the people that are babysitting us (inside correctional facilities) end up taking our information," she says.
The letter and Williams's story support Riley's version of events and his claims to innocence, argues Lisa Amodio. She also points to a 2011 IRS investigation which found that 115 fraudulent tax refunds were filed from Dade Correctional Institution in 2010.
"I'm frustrated but I'm happy in another sense, because it's another lie that I'm catching the state in," Amodio says. "Why would they lie? Whether or not they are protecting a corrections officer, I don't know."
Riley's lawyer recently filed a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that there isn't enough evidence against him to keep him imprisoned without bail. But a judge threw out the motion. His case isn't scheduled for trial until this fall.