WAYNE COUNTY – The 40-year-old Kentucky man pleaded guilty Thursday in Wayne County Court to the first-degree murder last year of Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Riley.
Ray Tate was originally charged with 36 counts of first-degree murder, Class X felony aggravated vehicle hijacking and Class 2 felony possession of a firearm stemming from the December 2022 shooting death of Deputy Riley.
On Thursday he agreed to plead guilty to an amended charge of first-degree murder. Tate’s scheduled to be sentenced on April 22.
According to Illinois State Police, Deputy Riley was called for a “motorist assist” on Interstate 64. Troopers say it was called in by a passerby.
Following a brief encounter with Tate, Deputy Riley requested emergency assistance. When other law enforcement officers arrived, they say they found Deputy Riley’s body but his cruiser was gone.
Authorities said Tate fled in Deputy Riley’s cruiser before hijacking a semi-truck driver who he forced to drive him to Missouri.
Tate is accused of committing other crimes in Missouri, before returning to Illinois. He was taken into custody after a hostage situation in Clinton County. He was transported to the Clinton County Jail where Wayne County authorities set his bond at $5 million.
Missouri authorities have charged him with 14 various crimes stemming from his brief time that day in their state.
Additional Illinois charges could also be filed in Clinton County.