Man accused of killing Nicholas Day bound over for trial

Published: Feb. 25, 2020 at 3:34 PM CST
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The man accused of killing Nicholas Day of Blue Mounds appeared for the second time in Dane County Court on Tuesday.

A judge bound Riley Berg over for arraignment, but did not set a date for his trial to begin.

Berg, 21, was charged with first degree homicide in the killing of Nicholas Day on County Highway JG near Blue Mounds on Jan. 15. Berg pleaded not guilty to the charge.

During Tuesday's court session, a Dane County Sheriff's Office detective and the county Medical Examiner appeared as witnesses.

The Medical Examiner said that Day was shot in the back with what must have been a rifle, shattering a bone in his hip, an NBC15 News crew reports from court.

The Medical Examiner and the detective explained that authorities have identified three bullets under the seat of Berg's vehicle that would have been used in the rifle. Berg's father reportedly told detectives that they have hunting rifles in their house, and that Berg had access to them.

The criminal complaint

According to a criminal complaint, a woman saw Day running along the highway around 12:58 p.m. 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.

If convicted, Berg could spend the rest of his life in prison.