MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- A 21-year-old Mount Horeb man is charged with first degree homicide in what Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney called a “cold and calculated act.”
Riley Berg appeared in court for the first time on Monday. A cash bond was set at $1 million. He was also charged with first degree intentional homicide by use of a dangerous weapon.
According to a criminal complaint filed Monday, a woman saw Day running on County Highway JG around 12:58 p.m. on Jan. 15 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 prounounced Day deceased and authorities believed his death was a hit-and-run. During the autopsy, a forensic pathologist found “11 incised wounds of the neck and a gunshot wound of the torso.”
Court documents state a detective saw Berg’s vehicle pull into Tyrol Basin at 12:51 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.
A motive for Day’s death was not mentioned in the criminal complaint.
Berg's next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 25. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.