TOPEKA (KSNT) – A man will be sentenced in February after admitting to crimes relating to a robbery in 2019 and a murder in 2021.

The Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office announced on Tuesday that John Clayton Riley II has been convicted for his part in a past robbery and a homicide investigation. Riley entered a plea of guilty to the following charges:

  • Intentional murder in the 2nd degree
  • Two counts of aggravated robbery
  • Arson
  • Aggravated intimidation of a witness

The DA reports that on Dec. 31, 2019 law enforcement responded to a home in the 2000 block of SW 31st Ct. after receiving a call about a robbery. Officers arrived and met with Palmer Thompson, a maintenance worker for the apartment complex. He said that he was robbed by a man wielding a large bowie knife. Thompson went on to say that the keys to his home were also stolen. After returning to his home later that day, Thompson found that several items were missing from his residence in the 300 block of NE Spruce.

The investigation eventually led to the arrest of Riley on charges of aggravated robbery and burglary to a dwelling. A preliminary hearing was set for March 4, 2020, where Palmer was set to testify. At the conclusion of the hearing the court found probable cause of the felonies in Riley’s case and he was bound over for trial. Riley was able to post bond and was released from custody.

On Sept. 6, 2021 emergency crews were called to Palmer’s home in response to a house fire. The blaze was extinguished and the body of Palmer was found in the residence.

A follow-up investigation revealed that the fire had been intentionally set and that Thompson had been shot in his bed. It was also found that Riley had been using Thompson’s identity to gain access to Thompson’s financial accounts after his death.

Riley was taken into custody again on Sept. 29, 2021. New charges were brought forward related to the homicide and arson into Riley’s case. Additional charges were approved by the court after a second preliminary hearing. A jury trial was set to start next week, but Riley entered a plea of guilty on Tuesday.

Riley remains in custody and he has been set for a sentencing hearing on Feb. 3, 2023 at 3:30 p.m. The plea agreement calls for the parties to recommend the maximum sentence for each charge to be run consecutively.