In the days before Joseph Riley was shot and killed during a home invasion and attempted robbery, a friend is alleged to have attempted to set up a robbery at his Salem Lakes house with the men believed to have murdered him.
Christina May, 42, of Lake Geneva, was charged Friday with conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
According to the criminal complaint, May was behind in rent and in need of money when she allegedly contacted Augustine Sanchez of Racine in November 2018 and told him Riley, 23, would be a “soft target” in possession of marijuana and cash.
“This is an individual who is essentially a friend of Joseph Riley and a friend of Joseph Riley’s family,” District Attorney Michael Graveley said Friday at May’s initial appearance in court, saying that he was told by Riley’s family that May had attended the memorial service for the murdered man.
May, wearing an anti-suicide smock, appeared emotional and shaken throughout her court appearance.
On what appears to be her Facebook account, May shared memorials to Riley after his death, including one that says “Justice for Joey.”
“I miss him so much!” the caption for one of the memorial photos state. “Most awesome hippie I’ve ever met. So down to earth, always wanting to help, always wanted to share love and peace with everyone.”
Plan put in place
The complaint states that the robbery plan was set up after an intermediary put May in touch with Sanchez, whom she did not know.
“Mr. Sanchez stated that the plan was for the defendant (May) to set up a drug buy with Mr. Riley where she would ask to purchase marijuana. Mr. Sanchez stated that the defendant was going to enter Mr. Riley’s residence and leave the door open so Mr. Sanchez and whomever Mr. Sanchez brought could enter behind her and then rob everyone, including the defendant to make the robbery look real.”
The complaint states that May gave Sanchez Riley’s address and warnings that Riley had a large dog and a gun and that the had been robbed in the past.
May told Sanchez she needed $1,500 for rent, and that whatever he got from Riley’s house beyond that he could keep.
But on Nov. 14, 2018, when they were supposed to commit the robbery, Sanchez told investigators, May called him and said, “Riley was not selling marijuana today because his niece was over and so the deal was off for the night because she could not get into the house.”
According to the complaint, Sanchez, his brother and two friends were already on the way to Riley’s house when they received the call so they decided to attempt to rob him anyway. They were unable to get into the house that night.
But on Nov. 15, Sanchez, Markeith Wilson, Anthony Harris and DeMarco Hudson, all of Racine, are alleged to have returned to Riley’s house, 31508 71st St., and kicked in the door in another attempt to rob him.
This time, Riley and two of the men exchanged gunfire. Riley was killed and a woman at his home was shot multiple times.
Sanchez, Wilson, Harris and Hudson are all charged with first-degree intentional homicide.
There is no allegation in the criminal complaint against May that she was involved in the plan that saw the men return to Riley’s house on Nov. 15 or that she had knowledge of the homicide.
According to the complaint, after being told that there were phone records showing contact between her and Sanchez, May admitted she was involved in a planned robbery of Riley, but that she backed out on Nov. 14.
She told the investigator she gave Sanchez directions to Riley’s home, but denied providing an exact address.
Not aware of new plan
Defense attorney Toni Young said there is no indication in the complaint that May was “aware of the magnitude” of this robbery or the second-day plan to return to Riley’s home and that May “attempted to withdraw from this plan.”
May is being held on $100,000 bond. In addition to the conspiracy to commit robbery charge, May is charged with bail jumping because she was on bond for a misdemeanor case in Walworth County last November.
She is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing Thursday.