QUEENSBURY — Bryan Redden wants to say he is sorry to the family of the mother and daughter he killed last summer, but knows that the time he will be given in court next month when he is sentenced won’t suffice.
He wants to write a letter to the loved ones of Crystal Riley and her daughter, Lilly Frasier, but doesn’t know to whom to write or how to get it to them.
“I just want the family to know how sorry I am,” he said. “I would give my life 10 times over to give them both back.”
Speaking to a reporter from a Warren County Jail visiting room Friday afternoon, Redden said he still can’t make sense of why he killed his friend and her 4-year-old daughter in their Glens Falls home the morning of last Aug. 11.
Though he admitted in Warren County Court that he murdered them by slicing their throats with a knife, he says he does not remember doing it. He said he has no doubt he did it, that the evidence shows he did it, but he doesn’t remember it happening or remember why it happened.
He said he had an argument with his girlfriend and went on a multi-day drug and alcohol bender before the murders, smoking crack cocaine and using heroin. He had not seen Riley, 33, for several months, and never had any strife with her.
“I really don’t know why I was there,” he said. “I was angry at that time about all kinds of stuff, but nothing to do with Crystal. I’ve never been the kind of guy to put my hands on people. I haven’t been able to make any sense of it.”
The last thing Redden says he remembers about that day was drinking from a 1.75-liter bottle of Black Velvet whiskey with a friend, around 3 a.m.
The friend later dropped him off near another friend’s home in Queensbury. He knows he rode a bicycle to Riley’s South Street home.
I heard last week that Bryan Redden, the man who killed a mother and 4-year-old child in Glens Falls last summer, has been having second thoug…
Then he said he remembers being in Riley’s Toyota Highlander sport-utility vehicle heading south on the Northway. He knew he had done something “really horrible” to be in her car with some of her belongings without her, but didn’t recall exactly what happened.
He turned around and drove back to Glens Falls, planning to turn himself in. He stopped the car at the Wash & Fold laundry on Bay Street, got out and said he flagged down the first police officer he saw.
“I told him, ‘I’m the guy you are looking for.’ I wasn’t going to run from it. I had to face up to what I had done,” he said.
Redden agreed to a jailhouse interview Friday with a Post-Star reporter at the reporter’s request, after the paper learned he had sent letters to the court seeking a change to his plea deal. He is scheduled to be sentenced March 8 for his guilty pleas to first-degree murder, second-degree murder and lesser charges.
The interview lasted about 45 minutes, the lanky Redden speaking with a hint of a southern drawl from his West Virginia roots, his speech quick and his syntax succinct. He comes across as an intelligent and sincerely remorseful young man.
He was in the Glens Falls region for about a year before committing two of the most heinous crimes the city has seen in decades.
Redden wound up here with a carnival rides company that brought him to the Washington County Fair in August 2016.
He had a falling out with a boss during the fair, lost his job and was taken to a bus station in Saratoga Springs to leave the area, but instead made his way north to Glens Falls. He said he has always been resourceful and able to find ways to support himself.
He bounced around odd jobs at local restaurants and with a drywall company, staying at a homeless shelter until he could save enough money to rent rooms in apartment buildings on Lawrence Street and Warren Street in Glens Falls. Days before the murders, he visited a local U.S. Army recruiter and had scheduled an appointment to take a military aptitude test.
Read past stories about the slayings of Crystal Riley and her daughter, Lilly, the arrest and more.
He had abused drugs in the past, but says he had been clean for two years before he wound up in Glens Falls. He also has a mental health history, his lawyer having filed a notice for a possible insanity defense before his guilty pleas.
Redden says he has lost 30 pounds in jail, having been confined to the special housing unit for much of his time after two fights with other inmates. One was with Vittorio “Vito” Campano, the man accused of shooting a Hague store clerk during a robbery.
He said Campano made a comment about Riley that angered him and prompted fisticuffs.
Redden said he has been in the jail’s general population for only about three weeks of his 6 months there, the rest of it spent alone in special housing.
Other inmates target him and try to antagonize him because “I am the most hated man in upstate New York,” he said. Only once has family visited him.
“I’ve been doing hard time, but I’m OK with it. It’s better than I deserve,” he said. “I don’t sleep much these days. My conscience doesn’t let me.”
He said he met Crystal in December 2016 at 58 Bar & Grill on South Street in Glens Falls, where he worked part-time. He said they became “good friends” but would not elaborate about their relationship. (Police said he told them they had been involved romantically for a period of time, though Riley’s family didn’t know him.)
Redden has nothing but good things to say about her, and says the person she was makes what he did even more inexplicable.
“She was a really good woman. She was really nice to me,” he said. “There were never any problems between us.”
The fact he killed them, and took the life of a child he hadn’t met when he says he has always loved children from his days as a “carnie,” makes it all the more “surreal” to him.
He says he doesn’t think of drug use as an excuse or explanation for what he did, as it was his “bad decision” to use drugs.
With the prospect of at least four decades — if not the rest of his life — in prison, Redden said he is trying to find out what God’s “purpose” is for him, and whether he can redeem himself in some way.
While he has sent letters to Warren County Judge John Hall questioning his plea deal, he said he has no intention of reversing his plea or putting Riley’s family through any more than they have been through.
He hopes he will someday get out of prison, and said he thinks 30-years-to-life is an appropriate sentence, instead of the 44-to-life that is likely in his plea deal.
Redden knows that going into state prison as someone who killed a mother and child will make his stay there very difficult, as those who commit crimes against children are often targeted by other inmates and don’t get much sympathy from staff.
But he said he understands that is part of the penalty he must pay for what he did.
“I’ll have some trouble when I get up there, but I deserve it,” he said. “Whatever is coming my way, I deserve it.”