Felon who claimed to be Adam Lanza’s uncle collared
A convicted felon who traveled to Newtown, Connecticut and masqueraded as the uncle of Sandy Hook Elementary School gunman Adam Lanza has been arrested on a federal probation violation charge, The Smoking Gun has learned.
Jonathan Lee Riches was busted late last week and booked into the Chester County jail. Riches, 35, has been living in West Chester, Pennsylvania since his release earlier this year from federal prison, where he spent a decade in custody for conspiracy and wire fraud.
On December 16, two days after the school massacre, Riches drove to Connecticut and sought to visit the home of gunman Adam Lanza. Riches, who videotaped part of the trip and uploaded clips to his YouTube page, was turned away from the Lanza family’s street by a police blockade.
Riches, however, did turn up at a makeshift memorial site in Newtown, where he identified himself to reporters as “Jonathan Lanza,” uncle of the school shooter. As reported by the New York Daily News and other media outlets, he told journalists that the killer had been taking Fanapt, an antipsychotic drug prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia. As photographers snapped away, Riches (seen below) dropped to a knee and feigned praying for the young victims.
According to a U.S. District Court filing, Riches–who is serving a five-year federal probation term–is not allowed to leave Pennsylvania’s Eastern District judicial boundaries without permission from a judge or his probation officers.
When Riches’s federal probation officer learned of the ex-con’s car trip to Newtown (and the existence of his YouTube travelogues), he drafted a report noting that he had “reason to believe that the supervised releasee has violated the terms and conditions of his supervision.” As seen in the below video, Riches’s auto contained dolls to which he affixed photos of Adam Lanza and the gunman’s older brother Ryan.
Probation officials have also cited Riches for failing to make court-ordered restitution payments for the last seven months. Records do not indicate when Riches will appear in federal court for a probation revocation hearing.
As chronicled by TSG, Riches previously gained notoriety as the federal prison system’s most prodigious serial litigant. While incarcerated, he filed hundreds of fatuous lawsuits that named a cavalcade of athletes, politicians, musicians, Hollywood stars, and other public figures as defendants.