Lockhart man dies in brutal beating

Suspect taken into custody, charged with murder

By Kathi Bliss
Editor/POST-REGISTER

What may have started as a family dispute on Sunday evening turned violent, leaving one Lockhart man dead and another facing murder charges.
Just after 7 p.m. on Dec. 2, police and paramedics responded to a “shots fired” call at 506 Sabine St. in Lockhart. Upon arriving at the residence, police discovered Johnnie Riles, Jr., 77, who appeared to have been severely beaten about the head and upper body.
Riles was transported from the scene by Lockhart-Caldwell County EMS, who worked in conjunction with StarFlight in an attempt to save Riles’ life. However, he was pronounced dead en route to the hospital.
Riles’ nephew, Wesley Lee Hill, 48, was present in the residence when police arrived.
Investigation of the incident revealed that a shotgun, believed to have been owned by Riles, was fired through the floor of the residence at some point during an altercation between the two. It was unclear who fired the gun, but investigators believe the shotgun to be the instrument with which Riles was beaten. The gun was recovered by investigators at the scene.
Hill, who police believe had come to the residence to borrow money from Riles, was taken into custody and interviewed by investigators with the Lockhart Police Department. Through the course of giving his statement regarding the altercation, police said, Hill offered a confession to the crime.
He was arrested and charged with Murder. Hill was transported to Caldwell County Jail, where he was booked and had bond set at $50,000.
The initial investigation indicated that Riles’ death was caused by injuries sustained in the beating alone. An autopsy was performed by the Travis County Medical Examiners’ Office on Monday, but results were not available at press time.
Riles’ death is the second murder in Lockhart this year. The first occurred in June, when Jesse Manuel Davila and Dewayne Jesse Davila allegedly shot John Edward “Eddie” DeLeon after what some witnesses called a “family dispute.”
Prior to the DeLeon case, the last murder in Lockhart was in 1998.
kathibliss@post-register.com

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