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Archive for Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Missouri couple face additional murder charges

October 4, 2006

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— An Independence couple already facing charges in a gruesome videotaped sex killing were indicted Tuesday in the death of another woman, and prosecutors said they will pursue the death penalty.

A Clay County grand jury issued formal first-degree murder charges against Richard D. Davis and Dena D. Riley in the strangling and suffocation death of Michelle Ricci.

The pair already are facing sexual abuse and sodomy charges in Jackson County in connection with Ricci, whose charred remains were discovered in May in a wooded area in rural Clay County.

"The most vile and criminal act should be subject to the ultimate punishment," said Clay County Prosecutor Daniel White.

He said the criminal histories of Davis and Riley played into his decision to pursue the death penalty.

Ricci, 36, was first mentioned as authorities investigated the videotaped sexual assault and strangling of Marsha Spicer in Independence. Davis and Riley are charged with murder, kidnapping, sodomy, rape and assault in Spicer's death, which authorities believe happened May 14, several weeks after Ricci's death.

Jackson County Prosecutor Mike Sanders hasn't decided whether to pursue the death penalty in the Spicer case but should make a decision before the Nov. 7 general elections, spokesman Van Buckley said Tuesday.

Sanders, a Democrat, is running for Jackson County executive.

The Jackson County medical examiner identified Ricci through dental records.

In court records filed last month, White said Davis and Riley raped and tortured Ricci for several days before killing her, afraid she knew where they lived and would go to police.

After taking a drugged Ricci to a wooded area near Missouri Highway 210, court documents said, Davis tried to strangle her with a rope. Authorities said that didn't work, so Davis allegedly covered her nose and mouth, suffocating her.

Court documents say the pair left the body there overnight, then returned the next day to cover the body in lighter fluid and brush and set it on fire.

White wouldn't say how Riley and Davis met Ricci or how long they had known her.

In June, investigators searching the couple's apartment found videotapes of Spicer in violent sex scenes.

They also found another tape that authorities claim shows the couple raping and torturing another woman, later identified as Ricci.

Spicer's body was discovered in a shallow grave in Lafayette County.

Davis and Riley were the FBI's most wanted couple after they were linked to the Spicer killing. After their arrest, they directed police to Ricci's body.

The two also are facing federal charges for allegedly kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 5-year-old Kansas girl after they told the girl's parents they were taking her to a restaurant.

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