An Ohio County jury convicted a Beaver Dam man of murder, rape and drug trafficking on Monday and recommended a sentence of life in prison without parole in the 2016 death of a woman who was found dumped in a wildlife refuge area.

Donald M. Lynch, 45, formerly of the 100 block of Mulberry Street in Beaver Dam, was convicted of murder, rape and trafficking in methamphetamine in the December 2016 death of Amanda M. Riley, 30, of Livermore.

Riley’s body was found Dec. 18, 2016 by hunters in Peabody Wildlife Management Area in Ohio County.

The jury reached its verdict Monday morning after a weeklong trial in Ohio County. Investigators said previously that Lynch and Riley were believed to have been acquaintances.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Blake Chambers said Monday afternoon the jury could have given Lynch a lesser sentence, but they had the option of recommending life without the possibility of parole because of the nature of the offenses.

Riley’s family wanted Lynch to receive a sentence of life without parole, Chambers said.

The trial was the first jury trial held in Ohio County since the onset of the pandemic. The case was delayed when former-Commonwealth’s Attorney Tim Coleman became Ohio County’s Circuit Court judge, which created a vacancy in the prosecutor’s office. Chambers was appointed by the governor’s office to be commonwealth’s attorney.

Because Coleman was prosecutor when the incident occurred in 2016, he could not preside over the trial. Special Judge Tom Castlen presided, and will render final sentencing on Dec. 18.

“It’s ironic, because (the sentencing is) exactly four years to the day” Riley’s body was discovered, Chambers said.

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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