Eric Riley


SIOUX CITY | Charges against a Sioux City man in the shooting of his uncle have been dropped for insufficient evidence, according to court documents.

Eric Riley, 40, was charged Sept. 9 with attempted murder and first-degree burglary after Ben Steffe, 66, was shot in his Morningside home that morning.

Court documents say Steffe told police the gunman was wearing a ski mask and indicated to several sources he believed it was Riley. However, the documents say Steffe could not positively identify Riley and named two others as possible shooters.

Steffe awoke about 6:45 a.m. to being shot in the bedroom of his home, at 4625 Applewood Ave. He was shot twice in the chest with a handgun while lying in bed with his wife, who was not harmed. Authorities recovered the weapon the same day.

The motion to dismiss the charges against Riley, filed Thursday by the Woodbury County Attorney's Office, say it's unclear why Steffe believes Riley is the suspect. The document says the investigation is hampered by Steffe's inability to speak to investigators for medical reasons.

Steffe was still listed as a patient at Mercy Medical Center on Friday afternoon, but a condition report was unavailable due to his family's request for privacy. Authorities said last week he was expected to recover.

Riley was released from the Woodbury County Jail around 10 p.m. Thursday, officials said. He did not admit guilt to police during his incarceration, the court documents say, and there are no known eyewitnesses to the shooting. In addition, there is no known physical evidence implicating Riley.

The documents say evidence has been submitted to the Iowa Division of Criminal investigation crime laboratory for DNA and ballistics analysis.

Woodbury County Attorney P.J. Jennings said Friday he’s awaiting new details in the case.

“We’re looking at some individuals who have been specified,” he said Friday afternoon. “But there could be other folks out there. We’re trying to pinpoint who is actually a suspect.”

Sioux City police Lt. Mark Kirkpatrick said that although the charges against Riley were dropped they can be refiled at any time.


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