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Ray Tate sentenced for murder of Deputy Sean Riley

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Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 5:24 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 22, 2022 at 11:08 AM CDT
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WAYNE CO., Ill. (WFIE) - The man accused of killing a Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy has been sentenced.

Ray Tate pled guilty to Deputy Sean Riley’s murder, and Friday he was sentenced to the maximum, life in prison without parole.

A strong security presence guarded the Wayne County Courthouse, where Tate was being sentenced.

The proceedings started with a warning. The judge let everyone know they would see graphic and disturbing evidence, including Deputy Riley’s body cam footage, which captured the moment he was killed.

The video showed Deputy Riley’s perspective as he approached Tate’s car, and they appeared to have a friendly conversation until Tate suddenly pulled out a gun and shot Deputy Riley multiple times. Tate then dragged Riley off the road, and the video showed Tate standing over him, stealing things from his vest.

For those close to Deputy Riley, the sentence of life in prison didn’t feel like enough.

“My innocent brother was given a death sentence, and his murderer was given life,” said Deputy Riley’s sister Spring Bonney.

State’s attorneys included two victim impact statements as well. One from Deputy Riley’s sister, the other from his wife, though she didn’t attend in person, her statement was read by a family friend.

She said she couldn’t hate Ray Tate, but she has no sympathy for him. Her sympathy instead goes to Tate’s mother, who attended the sentencing.

Deputy Riley’s sister says the whole ordeal has made her rethink Illinois not having a death penalty.

“I understand the justice system in Illinois and appreciate that Ray Tate was given life without parole after pleading guilty,” said Bonney. “I do wonder why a man that took my brother’s life in an unreasonable and cold-blooded way is given any type of life, even if in prison.”

Prosecutors also showed the body cam footage of the Fairfield police officer who arrived next on scene and found Deputy Riley’s body. That officer along with Wayne County Sheriff Chris Otey were also witnesses, and Sheriff Otey says they appreciate the support of the community.

“I would like to say that we are happy that justice was served, that justice that’s allowed by law in this state. I would also like to go ahead and thank the community for just all the continued support,” said Sheriff Otey.

Tate previously faced dozens of charges stemming from an incident that stretched from Indiana, Illinois and Missouri.

We are told all other charges against Tate were dismissed as part of his plea deal.

This also comes after officials say Tate tried to escape from jail earlier this month.

[Previous: Deputy Sean Riley laid to rest]

Deputy Sean Riley was killed near the Indiana border on Dec. 29, 2021.
Deputy Sean Riley was killed near the Indiana border on Dec. 29, 2021.(Indiana State Police)

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