Minnesota father who evaded arrest for a month sentenced to 40 years for wife’s murder

Eric Reinbold argued he should only serve 26 years, because that would save taxpayers nearly $400,000.

Eric Reinbold booking photo Pennington County
Eric Reinbold, Pennington County booking photo

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. — A northwest Minnesota man who was convicted of killing his wife in 2021 was sentenced to 40 years on Wednesday, Jan. 11.

Eric James Reinbold, 46, was convicted of second degree intentional murder and second degree murder while committing assault after a week-long jury trial in September.

Reinbold was sentenced to 480 months — the maximum sentence for second degree murder. Reinbold must serve at least two-thirds of his sentence in prison. The remaining third will be on supervised release, so long as he does not commit any other crimes. He has credit for 525 days served.

"Finally we have justicd for Lissette. I want life. I want life in jail for the way he took my daughter's life," said Lissette's mother Elvia Juarez after the hearing.

The sentencing was rescheduled twice. During that time, Reinbold fired his attorney — Bruce Rivers — and hired Chris Cadem as his new counsel .


Cadem argued for a sentence of 312 months as the best outcome for Reinbold, his children and society. He also argued it would save taxpayers more than $400,000. He said it will cost taxpayers nearly $2 million dollars to keep Reinbold in prison for 40 years.

“This is a ‘heat of passion’ case,” said Cadem. “... My client did not plan this murder.”

Judge Tamara Yon said the aggravating factors of the murder show “particular cruelty” on Reinbold’s part. The aggravating factors, agreed upon by the jury in September, are that Reinbold stabbed his wife multiple times and left her body for their children to find.

These factors made the state’s recommendation of 480 months a “justifiable sentence,” Yon said.

At approximately 9:15 a.m. on July 9, 2021, emergency personnel were dispatched to an Oklee, Minnesota , residence for an unresponsive female.

Upon their arrival, emergency personnel found Lissette Reinbold, 34, laying on the ground near a vehicle, according to an affidavit in the case.

Lissette Reinbold’s child found her with blood on her hands and face. The child called their grandfather, who then called 911.

Eric Reinbold had spent the previous night in a camper roughly half a mile from the residence. Two of the children stayed there with him, and one reported waking up earlier that morning to find Eric Reinbold gone.


An autopsy revealed Lissette Reinbold had suffered 27 stab wounds. Her death was classified as a homicide.

"She's happy all the time, a good friend, good daughter, good sister, just a wonderful person," said Juarez.

Eric Reinbold evaded law enforcement for 26 days, but was arrested without incident when found.

"We had a lot of fear. He was running for 26 days. It was not easy for all the people. We had to put cameras in the house," said Juarez.

During the sentencing hearing, the state presented two victim impact statements. One was from Lissette Reinbold’s mother, Elvia Juarez. In her letter, Juarez addressed her daughter’s killer directly.

“My daughter was taken …” Juarez began, “by your hands and your rage.”

Juarez wrote that she didn’t wish her pain on anybody. She explained the suffering of her family, and specifically her grandchildren – Lissette Reinbold’s children.

“They often sleep with me because they fear you will come and hurt them,” Juarez wrote.


“I hope you rot in hell,” was the last sentence of Juarez’s letter.

Lori and Jim Reinbold, Eric Reinbold’s parents, both made statements to Yon asking for her “mercy” and “compassion.” They explained their son’s background as a farmer, father and husband.

“I have no doubt in my mind that Eric and Lissette loved each other,” Lori Reinbold said. “I am begging you, your honor, to be lenient.”

“It’s been very hard on our family as we try to understand what happened that day,” Jim Reinbold said.

Reinbold’s attorney, Cadem, read two other statements from Reinbold’s family members.

“I have never seen anger in the way Eric lives,” Suzandra Reinbold wrote.

Reinbold did not apologize.

"He don't have feelings, this guy, the way he took the life of the mother of the kids," said Juarez.


Reinbold’s criminal record – prior to the murder of his wife – includes a second degree assault conviction as well as pipe bomb possession.

John Gross, representing the state, reminded the court Reinbold had “opportunities upon opportunities upon opportunities” to change.

Gross said Reinbold successfully completed a domestic violence program in 2017 following his assault conviction.

Then, just months before killing his wife, Gross said, Reinbold was granted compassionate release from federal prison where he was being held for his pipe bomb possession conviction.

While in jail, Reinbold was charged with allegedly assaulting a correctional employee and attempting to escape custody. There will be an omnibus hearing for that case at a later, undetermined date.

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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