With Plea Deal, Sex Offender Admits to Killing Riley Fox

Scott Eby avoids death penalty, will spend rest of natural life in prison

A convicted sex offender arrested in May after DNA evidence linked him to the death of a little girl was sentenced to life without parole Tuesday after negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors. 

Scott Eby's plea deal, accepted by Will County Judge Richard Schoenstedt, spares him from the death penalty for the rape and murder of Riley Fox.

The courtroom was packed Tuesday with relatives and supporters of the Fox family.

Reporters and court personnel were in tears as both Kevin and Melissa Fox read their victim's impact statements. Kevin went first, saying he has waited six years for this day to come.

"While I was in jail I wondered each day what you were doing with your freedom," he said, referring to the eight months he spent incarcerated when he was considered a suspect.

Melissa Fox remembered the good things about her daughter's short life.

"I gave her life.  You ripped it away," she said while staring into the eyes of her daughter's killer.

Eby fought back tears as she lashed out.

"It disgusts me that Riley is gone and you are here," Melissa Fox told him.

Before his sentence, Eby rose and addressed the courtroom. He apologized to Riley's parents saying he wished he could trade his life to bring her back.

Riley Fox was sleeping in her Wilmington home when she vanished six years ago.  Her body was later found in a nearby creek.  Eby's name was found written on a pair of shoes found nearby.

Prosecutors initially focused their case on the girl's father, Kevin Fox.  DNA evidence later excluded him, and Will County authorities later conceded they'd "dropped the ball" in their investigation.

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