Riley awaits sentencing

CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle
William Riley talks with his attorney, Luis Juarez (right), during his sentencing hearing Tuesday at the Curry County Courthouse.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ Staff Writer

A 33-year-old Clovis man convicted by a jury of first-degree murder last month apologized to the victim’s family Tuesday during his sentencing hearing.

After hearing arguments from attorneys in the case, the judge said he will render a sentence in a few days after he has had an opportunity to review his notes in the case.

Standing at a podium facing Judge Joe Parker, William Riley spoke in a quiet voice without hesitation.

“Things have to come to a closure. I want to express my remorsefulness and let the family know I am sorry for all of us being in this situation. Whether I get out or don’t get out, there’s no winners in this situation,” he said.

Riley was convicted of killing Roshawn Pitts, June 25, 2004. Pitts, 20, was shot three times in the driveway of an apartment at 916 Axtell.

The prosecution suggested Riley, a spurned lover, shot Pitts when he discovered he was seeing his former girlfriend and the mother of his children.

Parker imposed a mandatory life sentence on the murder conviction when the trial concluded for the benefit of the victim’s family who had traveled from California for the trial.

Riley is still awaiting sentencing on charges of aggravated assault, tampering with evidence and shooting at a motor vehicle.

District Attorney Matt Chandler asked Parker to issue the maximum sentences and to consider Riley’s prior record and the circumstances of the case toward an aggravated sentence, saying Riley wreaked havoc and placed the lives of numerous bystanders in danger during the midday shooting.

Chandler said the additional charges could add 18 years to the current sentence.

“He had no right to take the life of another person. As long as we know you will never see the streets again it will give us some closure,” Chandler read an excerpt of a letter from a family member of the victim.