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45 Years for Torture and Murder

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (CN) - The leader of a group that tortured and killed a mentally disabled pregnant woman was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Michelle Riley pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Madison County Court.

Prosecutors recommended a sentence of 30 to 45 years and Judge Charles Romani sentenced Riley, 37, to 45 years without possibility of parole.

Riley admitted he tortured and killed 29-year-old Dorothy Dixon.

Prosecutors say Dixon was beaten, scalded with hot water, shot with a pellet gun and burned with a glue gun. She was found dead on Jan. 31, 2008 in a damp, unfinished basement where she lived, in Alton, Ill., covered with wet towels and wearing only a sweater. Dixon was 6 months pregnant. A doctor testified that she died from an accumulation of injuries.

Police say Riley collected Dixon's disability check and dominated her and other residents of the house. They said Dixon was treated like a slave.

Judy E. Woods, 45, Benny L. Wilson, 18, and Riley's daughter LeShelle McBride, 17, await trial on charges of first-degree murder and related charges. All lived in the house with Riley and Dixon.

A 12-year-old boy was found guilty in juvenile court of second-degree murder for his involvement and was sentenced to 60 days of detention and 5 years of probation.

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