Couple plead guilty to horrific meth-fueled sex slayings of a mother-of-four and another woman in 2006

  • Kansas couple raped, tortured and murdered 36-year-old woman who agreed to have sex in exchange for meth
  • Crazed pair have also pleaded guilty to rape, torture and murder of another female victim and to raping a 5-year-old girl
  • 'As a Christian man, I want them to burn,' victim's ex-husband says of perps

A Kansas couple pleaded guilty to murdering a mother of four, raping and torturing her in drug-fueled attack caught on tape and then dumping and setting her body alight in the woods.

Richard D. Davis and Dena D. Riley, of Independence, Kansas, were sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison for murdering Michelle Huff-Ricci, the 36-year-old woman they suffocated in April 2006.

The hearing in Clay County, Missouri, served as a formality as Davis is already on death row and Riley was given nine life sentences for the rape and torture of Huff-Ricci - in addition to rape, torture and murder convictions for another victim, Marsha Spicer, and a guilty plea for kidnapping and raping a five-year-old Kansas City girl.

Richard D. Davis
Dena D. Riley

Triple tragedies: Richard D. Davis, 48, (left) is on death row and Dena D. Riley, 46, is serving nine life sentences for two rape and murder convictions, in addition to the rape of a young child

Grief and anger pervaded the court room, as Davis, 48, and Riley, 46, were paraded in to enter their pleas before the victim's family, in attendance to tell the court how the tragedy has left them devastated.

'As a Christian man, I want them to burn. I want them to go to hell,' Huff-Ricci's ex-husband, Matthew Lee, told WDAF-TV, after the hearing.

'It was wrong for them to kill someone. She was only 36. I mean, she didn't hurt nobody. She was so sweet,' said Stephanie Ricci, Michelle's now 17-year old daughter said about her late mother, echoing her father's wish, 'I want them to die.'

The disgusting and terrifying rampage occurred in the spring of 2006, when Davis and Riley, high on meth, launched vicious attacks on two women, capturing the violence on video and storing the footage in their apartment.

It is not entirely known what connection the perpetrators had to Huff-Ricci but it is believed Huff-Ricci had agreed to sleep with them in exchange for meth.

Using drugs to control the woman, the pair allegedly kept Ricci as a sex slave for three days in late April, subjecting her to rape, beatings, torture and choking.

Fearing that she would tell police, the couple decided to kill her to keep her quiet after the torture. They drugged their battered victim and drove to Missouri to kill her and dispose of the body.

Beloved mother:

Beloved mother: Michelle Huff-Ricci, 36, was raped, tortured and suffocated by Davis and Riley in April 2006


Justice: Michelle Huff-Ricci's family wants justice for the perpetrators of the violent attack against the mother of four

According to police, Davis attempted to strangle the woman with a rope in the woods but when that was unsuccessful he suffocated her.

The pair poured lighter fluid on Huff-Ricci's naked body and then lit her on fire.

Her family reported her missing but her charred body was not discovered until police discovered Davis and Riley's second victim, Marsha Spicer, later in May.

Police began investigating the couple in May 2006, when the body of 41-year-old Spicer was found by fishermen in a shallow creek in Bates City, east of Kansas City.

The second attack, around May 14, against Spicer occurred at the couple's apartment.

Video footage, lasting more than two hours, show the couple violently attacking Spicer - who was subdued with duct tape around her wrists and over her eyes - beating, raping and then strangling the woman.


'I want them to die,' Michelle Huff-Ricci's 17-year-old daughter Stephanie (left) and her ex-husband Matthew Lee (right) both said of the crazed couple responsible for Michelle's death

When Spicer's body was discovered, clues led officers to the couple but the pair evaded police and during an eight-day chase running from the cops, they kidnapped and raped a five-year-old Kansas City girl. 

They were finally caught on May 25.

Marsha Spicer

41-year-old Marsha Spicer was found dead in May 2006

According to Huff-Ricci's mother, Sherry Ballew, her daughter had been an acquaintance of Marsha Spicer, who also had a meth addiction.

Davis was given the death penalty after his August 2008 conviction for Spicer's suffocation death and the kidnapping, rape and torture of Huff-Ricci. 

Riley has been given nine life sentences after pleading guilty in Jackson County to the torture of both women and to Spicer's murder.

Appearing in court on Tuesday, Davis, 48, was stoic as he heard his sentence read, simply stating, 'None of this should've happened. I am sorry. It shouldn't have happened.'

But Davis' comments offered little relief to the victim's family.

'I wanted them to jump over there and get that dude. It took my sons to keep me under control. 'Cause she was the love of my life,' Michelle's ex-Matthew Lee said.

Davis has a prior conviction for rape and spent 17 years in prison before he was released in 2005, claiming he had found religion and was ready to reform his ways.

Riley, 46, appeared emotional in court on Tuesday and dabbed tears from her eyes. She was full of emotion when the victim's family told the judge of the heartache the victim's four children much endure.

Richard D. Davis

Death: 48-year old Richard Davis has been sentenced to death for the rape, torture and murder of two women

Dena Riley, 40

Life beind bars: Dena Riley, 46, has been given nine life sentences for her part in the sexual assault and murder of two women, in addition to the raping of a little girl in Kansas City

Riley had a long history of drug-use.

'She steadily talked about the drugs… how she used it and how great it was,' a former coworker, who worked with Riley at a local dog kennel before the crime, told the Kansas City Star.

'She'd use anything. I don't think she was a pot-smoker, she was a needle freak. She also liked pain pills.'

Meanwhile, the victim's family is attempting to move on and stay focused on caring for the children left behind.

'This has been a senseless tragedy  - one we will never have all the answers for or understand,' said Karen Shannon, a cousin of Huff-Ricci.

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