Teen found guilty of killing man by setting him on fire on Lyell Ave
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A family court judge found Adriel Riley, 16, guilty of killing a man by setting him on fire in Rochester.
Monroe County Family Court Judge Stacy Romeo on Tuesday found Riley guilty of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon during a bench trial.
Riley and another teen are now both convicted of setting 53-year-old Steven Amenhauser on fire inside his apartment on Lyell Avenue in March 2021.
Amenhauser suffered burns on over 70% of his body and died four days later. He didn’t have close family in Rochester but more than 100 community members came to his funeral.
Riley was 14 at the time of the murder. The other teen, 16-year-old Zayvion Perry, already pleaded guilty to manslaughter and is serving 25 years in prison.
Assistant District Attorney Rachel Clark said the outcome of the bench trial brought justice.
“I think jury and or bench trial, the act itself was so violent and horrendous that a jury or a bench trial, it wouldn’t have mattered in my opinion,” she said. They obviously went for a bench trial for the judge to be the fact finder and for the judge to be the one to be the finder of facts and to come to her own verdict and I really don’t think there would’ve been a difference.”
Evidence from the scene where Amenhauser was killed was shown in the courtroom.
“This was an undescribable, despicable act that was done on the innocent victim, Steven Amenhauser,” Clark said. “I don’t know why people do things. He was 14 but based on the proof and the evidence that we presented, there was no rhyme or reason and he had no remorse.”
Riley was found not guilty of arson and not guilty of the second count of second-degree murder.
Judge Romeo will decide how long Riley will face. Because Riley was just 14 when he committed the crime, he could face six and a half to 15 years to life in prison. The sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 28.