Convicted shooter given 13 more years

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

An additional 13 years was tacked on Monday to a life sentence of a 33-year-old Clovis man convicted last month of first-degree murder.

William Riley will have to serve 43 years in prison before he is eligible for parole in connection with the June 2005 shooting death of Roshawn Pitts, according to 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler.

Riley was sentenced Monday on charges of aggravated assault, shooting at or from a motor vehicle and tampering with evidence.

Judge Joe Parker sentenced Riley to life in prison following the conclusion of his week-long jury trial. Under New Mexico statute, a person sentenced to life can be considered for parole after 30 years of incarceration.

Testimony during the trial cast Riley as a spurned lover who sought revenge on Pitts, a one-time friend who had been seeing Riley’s former girlfriend and the mother of Riley’s children.

Parker pronounced Monday’s sentence in a quiet courtroom with only Riley, his attorney and court personnel in attendance.

“The family was hoping for the maximum, which would have been an additional five years, (but) the family is very satisfied and is pleased the process has come to some closure and resolution,” Chandler said on behalf of the victim’s family after the hearing.

Although Riley apologized to the victim’s family during a June 21 hearing, the apology did little to comfort Pitts’ mother, Rochelle Russell.
In an e-mail to the CNJ, she wrote, “I … listened to William Riley at his sentence hearing in which he stated ‘he was remorseful.’ It appears to me his statement, as he put it, was to get consideration from the court. I truly believe that he’s not remorseful for murdering my son.”