Riley Berg sentenced to life in prison, eligible for parole in Blue Mounds killing

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 3:50 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to the 2020 killing of a U.S. Navy veteran who was jogging in Blue Mounds was sentenced to life in prison Thursday with possibility of parole, according to court documents.

Riley Berg, 23, is eligible to petition for extended supervision on July 13, 2053. Berg will be 55 years old on that date.

Berg pleaded guilty to first-degree intentional homicide of Nicholas Day while Day was jogging along County Highway JG in January of 2020. At the time, Sheriff David Mahoney described his killing as a “cold and calculated act.”

According to a criminal complaint filed, a woman saw Day running on County Highway JG around 1 p.m. on Jan. 15, 2020 as she was driving toward Stewart County Park. She told detectives she forgot something at home, turned around, and six minutes later, saw a hat on the road. She said she then found Day’s body in the ditch.

An examiner with the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office pronounced Day deceased and authorities initially believed his death was a hit-and-run. During the autopsy, a forensic pathologist found wounds to his neck and a gunshot wound to his torso.

Court documents state a detective saw Berg’s vehicle pull into Tyrol Basin around 12:50 p.m. and leave a minute later on the day of Nicholas Day’s death. The detective noted it takes roughly 5 minutes from when Berg left the parking lot to where Day’s body was found. A detective said he saw Berg’s vehicle at Stewart Lake County Park on Jan. 24 and contacted him. Court documents state while he was asked if he was at the ski area, Berg said he wasn’t sure if he was there that day.

During the investigation, detectives said they learned Berg hunted “every day” and had access to guns and would have a knife on him if he was out hunting.

According to the criminal complaint, Berg was diagnosed with schizophrenia but is reportedly not symptomatic and takes medication.

During a search of Berg’s vehicle on Feb. 13, detectives reportedly found a blood stain containing Day’s DNA on the driver seat belt strap. Detectives said when they interviewed Berg after searching his vehicle, he told them he did not know Day and Day has never been in his house or his car.

Following his arrest, Berg initially pleaded not guilty to killing Day, however a court determined in April of 2020 that he was not competent to stand trial. He was again declared not competent in a similar hearing in November.

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