An Ohio County man sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing a woman and dumping her body in a lake is appealing his conviction to the state Supreme Court.
Donald M. Lynch, 46, formerly of the 100 block of Mulberry Street in Beaver Dam, was convicted last October of murder, rape, tampering with evidence and trafficking in methamphetamine in the December 2016 death of Amanda M. Riley, 30, of Livermore.
Riley’s body was found Dec. 18, 2016, by a hunter in a lake at Peabody Wildlife Management Area in Ohio County. The cause of Riley’s death was determined to be blunt force trauma.
Blood, later determined through DNA analysis to be Riley’s, was found on Lynch’s shoes, and there was forensic evidence that Lynch had sexual intercourse with Riley.
Lynch was found guilty after jurors heard evidence of text messages between Riley and Lynch on Dec. 17, the last day she was seen alive, and by phone location data compiled by Kentucky State Police investigators.
In Lynch’s brief to the Supreme Court, Lynch’s attorney, Jennifer Wade of the state Department of Public Advocacy, says Lynch’s rights were violated during the trial and that the judge should have entered directed verdicts of not guilty to the rape and tampering charges after the prosecution concluded its case.
At trial, jurors heard portions of an interview Lynch gave to detectives, in which Lynch said he and Riley had had sex on previous occasions after using drugs, but said he could not remember if they had sex when he saw her on Dec. 17. Lynch said he could not remember any details of his time with Riley.
Wade wrote that while there is evidence that Riley and Lynch had sex that night, there is no evidence Riley was raped.
Riley’s injuries on her arms, shoulder and back were consistent with blunt force trauma and attempts to defend herself, not being forcibly held down or constrained, Wade wrote.
By not dismissing the rape charge, Lynch was harmed because the alleged rape was used as an aggravating factor for the jury to consider when they recommended he serve life without parole.