Grand jury formally charges Marine in Lakeland family massacre

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (AP/WFLA) — A grand jury has formally charged Bryan Riley in a 22-count indictment that includes four first-degree murder counts in the fatal shooting of a Lakeland family authorities say he attacked at random.

Court documents show the indictment was filed Tuesday in Polk County Circuit Court against Bryan Riley.

A judge ruled Riley to continue to be held on no bond at Riley’s first appearance hearing on Thursday.

“Mr. Riley – have you viewed this and are you aware of all of the charges against you?” asked the judge.

“Yes ma’am,” answered Riley, with his public defender by his side.

Other charges included attempted murder, kidnapping, arson, burglary, and animal cruelty for killing the family dog.

“I’ve seen really really bad things in my life – this ranks in the top three,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.

Authorities said Riley traveled to the north Lakeland neighborhood on Sept. 4 to pick up items for a hurricane aid kit.

As he passed the victims’ home, he asked about someone named “Amber,” who he said was going to commit suicide.

There was no Amber in the home.

When the family sent him away, he returned in the dark of night to “rescue” Amber and in doing so, killed four people and the family dog, shot at law enforcement and shot an 11-year old girl multiple times, according to the sheriff’s office.

Riley, a 33-year-old Marine, could ultimately face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted of the murders. He has not entered a plea.

Prosecutors have not announced a decision on whether to seek the death penalty.

“He is talks non-stop to most anybody that’ll listen to him. He’s obviously designated as a dangerous inmate and being supervised closely,” said Sheriff Judd.

He is accused of killing Justice Gleason, Theresa Lanham who was in a relationship with Gleason, Lanham’s mother Catherine Delgado, and Gleason’s infant son Jody, who was born in May. Gleason’s 11-year-old daughter, from a previous relationship, is the only survivor of the shooting.

Riley is expected to enter a plea at an arraignment next month.

Polk Sheriff’s Charities has been raising money for the family to help pay for funeral and medical expenses and more.

“What are we going to do for the children in the long term because they don’t have their dad,” said Sheriff Judd.

To donate, visit https://www.polksheriff.org/donate and choose “Quadruple Homicide Victims” in the drop down menu.

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