Slain Merced siblings to be remembered in walk

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comOctober 8, 2012 

A walk remembering two brothers who were victims of violence is scheduled to happen this week in Merced.

The fourth annual Riley Brothers Victims' Visual Walk is will take place at noon Saturday. The walk is in honor of Marlis Riley, 27, and Michael Riley, 29, who were killed less than a year apart -- in October 2008 and September 2009, respectively.

The walk is being organized by their mother, Marylene Riley. It will start in the FoodMaxx parking lot at 1300 W. Olive Ave. and continue along Meadows Avenue. A prayer will be read at the sites where the brothers were killed, according to an announcement from Riley.

A Navy veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Michael Riley was an honors student at Merced College when he was shot to death the night of Oct. 7, 2008, outside the Village Meadows Apartments, in the 1100 block of Loughborough Drive.

He was planning to transfer to either California State University, Stanislaus, or the University of California at Berkeley with the goal of getting a Harvard Law School degree. Merced police say his death remains unsolved and the motive unknown.

Marlis Riley was killed Sept. 12, 2009, after a fight with two men, Nicholas Terrill Rhodes, 27, and Donald Emory Watts, 40, at a residence in the 1400 block of Conestoga Drive. Both men pleaded no contest to charges of involuntary manslaughter and were sentenced to four years in prison.

The office of then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has offered a $50,000 reward to anyone offering information leading to an arrest in Michael Riley's death.

Merced police are asking anyone with information about Michael Riley's death to call Detective Joe Deliman at (209) 385-6992, Sgt. Scott Skinner at (209) 386-4702 or the department's automated tip line at (209) 385-4725. Calls are kept confidential, and callers can remain anonymous.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or

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