A man sentenced to die in 1975 for the notorious MarinCounty murder of his girlfriend’s parents is entitled to a parole date because he has matured and poses little danger of violence, a state appeals court has ruled.
Charles Riley, now 59, was 20 when he was convicted of the “horrific” murders of James and Naomi Olive, who objected to his relationship with their 16-year-old daughter Marlene Olive, who helped plan and carry out the murders.
The First District Court of Appeals overturned denial of Riley’s 2012 parole Thursday and sent the case back for the Parole Board to set a release date.
Riley struck Naomi Olive in the head with a hammer as she slept in the family’s Terra Linda home. Marlene, who had left the hammer out for him and lured her father away. When her father returned to find his wife’s body, Riley shot him in the back.
Riley and Marlene later took the bodies of her parents to China Camp and burned them in a campfire to hide the evidence.
Riley said Marline hated her parents and encouraged him to kill them so the pair could get the life insurance money and flee to South America together.
Riley argued that he was a shy, drug-using teenager when he met Marlene and was influenced by her desire to kill her parents.
While in prison he earned a college degree and has undergone drug therapy. He is considered by psychologists to be a low risk for violence.
Police and prosecutors have opposed his release.
Case: In re Riley, No. A137349