FARGO — A Fargo man accused of fatally shooting his father says he will represent himself in court and wants to go to trial as soon as possible, even if that means he will be convicted.
Christopher Blaine Riley appeared Friday, March 20, in Cass County District Court via teleconference for a hearing during which Judge Susan Bailey accepted his request to have a trial in late April without an attorney. Riley fired his court-appointed lawyer, Steven Mottinger, last month and accused Mottinger of filing motions to delay his trial against his wishes.
“I don’t care about an attorney. I don’t care about proper representation,” he said. “All I care about is getting in front of 12 people of my peers and having my day in court.”
Riley was charged with murder after police found his father, 60-year-old Kevin Riley Sr., dead from a gunshot wound to the head in the defendant’s Fargo apartment in September 2018. Christopher Riley, who has pleaded not guilty, called police to report his father killed himself.
Police started investigating the death as a homicide after officers found Kevin Riley’s body was covered with a white sheet, as well as a gun that was 6 feet from his body with the magazine removed.
Christopher Riley’s trial has been delayed several times, including so the North Dakota State Hospital could conduct a mental health evaluation that found in mid-February he was fit to proceed with trial.
On Friday, Riley claimed his rights to a speedy trial, proper representation and other civil rights have been violated.
His trial is set to start April 28, but Judge Bailey warned that a state order postponing jury trials through April 24 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus could push his trial back again if the order is extended. Riley said he would take a bench trial — decided by a judge, not a jury — if it meant having the proceedings on schedule.
“In no way do I want to move past the date of April (28),” he said.
Riley said he was prepared to represent himself even if he made mistakes. “I’m not afraid to go down in a hellfire of glory for my nation,” he said.