Pine River man gets 40 years for murder
By Jennifer Stockinger
WALKER, Minn. -- A Pine River man who killed another man in 2012, burning and dismembering his body before burying him, was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison.
Dane Joseph Riley, 29, received the statutory maximum sentence in Cass County Court in the killing of Mark Huesmann, 27.
Riley was convicted Dec. 13 by a Cass County jury of second-degree intentional murder, interference with a dead body and ineligible person in possession of a firearm.
Cass County Attorney Christopher Strandlie said the jury found that aggravating factors existed, which warranted an upward departure from the Minnesota sentencing guidelines.
The jury found that Riley had treated Huesmann with particular cruelty when he burned and dismembered his body before burying him. The jury also found that Riley is a dangerous offender.
Ninth District Judge David Ten Eyck presided over the five-day trial and sentenced Riley.
Strandlie said Riley was further sentenced to serve 60 months for the firearm violation and one year for the interference with a dead body violation. The sentences will be served concurrently with the murder sentence.
The jury heard that on July 20, 2012, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office learned that Huesmann had been missing for seven days.
According to the criminal complaint, the investigation revealed that Huesmann had been at a party in rural Pine River on July 13, 2012, and the early hours of July 14. Huesmann had called Riley for a ride, and Riley had picked him up at the house.
The trailer where Riley lived was near the location where records show Huesmann last used his cellphone.
A concerned citizen near Riley’s residence heard screams and gunshots around 4:20 a.m. July 14 and reported it to authorities, according to the complaint. After the gunshots, the witness heard a panicked male voice yelling several times. The witness later heard a female voice yelling.
Riley confirmed with investigators that he picked up Huesmann at the party, and said he learned that Huesmann was missing after returning from a job in North Dakota.
On July 24, investigators went to Riley’s family’s property on a report of a fresh burn pile in a wooded area. It was was a quarter-mile from the trailer home, and officers saw burned and fire-damaged clothing and remnants of a tennis shoe.
Also found was a flap that appeared to come off a truck later found on the property. Blood appeared to have been on the driver and passenger sides of the truck.
Riley’s girlfriend, in a subsequent interview, told officers that she had been awakened by the sound of two gunshots early on July 14. She said she went outside and saw Huesmann on the ground with Riley on top, striking him in the chest area. She said she became hysterical and screamed, and Riley told her not to say anything about what she had seen.
According to the sheriff’s office, Huesmann’s remains were found in a shallow grave on the property of JB’s Welding and Repair in rural Pine River.