Two teenage daughters found their father died when they returned home from school. John Riebe was found slain at his house in December 2004, just days before Christmas. The death of the young father in Toledo, Ohio devastated the family and the town. As the authorities delved more, they discovered evidence that led them to Eric Babos, a good friend of John’s who also worked with him on occasion. ‘A Time to Kill: The Man in the Background,’ a documentary on Investigation Discovery, go into this case. So, if you’re interested in learning more about John’s demise, we’ve got you covered.
What Caused John Riebe’s Death?
John Eric Riebe, a 39-year-old father of two from Toledo, Ohio, was killed. He worked as an HVAC specialist, installing furnaces and other heating equipment on a regular basis. They communicated virtually every day when he was separated from his wife, Lisa Richman. Nicole and Jamie, who were 12 and 13 at the time of the tragedy, were raised by the two.
John was known as a loving and caring father who enjoyed golfing and was a tremendous sports enthusiast. Nicole and Jamie came home around 3:15 p.m. on December 15, 2004, but had to crawl in through a window. They entered the house and discovered their father lying on the living room floor. John was killed after being shot seven times with a.38 caliber revolver, with bullet casings discovered at the crime scene. The killer, according to authorities, fled the site just minutes before the girls arrived.
What happened to Eric Babos, the guy who was convicted of John Riebe’s murder? Here are some key details regarding him and the 2005 case that you should be aware of.
Who was John Riebe’s assassin?
After that, the detectives learned about Eric Babos, a close friend of John’s. Furthermore, Babos had done some work for him at a firm in Toledo a few days before the murder for which he was owed $150. Babos had previously stated that he needed the funds to purchase a Game Boy system for his son. According to phone records, Lisa got two messages from John at about 2:58 p.m. on December 15, 2004. John “sounded anxious,” she subsequently said and requested her to pick up his paycheck from the heating company where he was employed at the time. According to Lisa, John informed him that the money was being held by someone.
The manager of the heating company, Daniel Boyle, later testified that he received a call from John about the money at 3:00 p.m. on the day of the murder. Daniel informed him that his check was ready for him to pick up. Eric called Daniel again a few minutes later, enraged, and screamed, “I want my money.” At that point, the manager informed him that the check could only be picked up by John. Within minutes, the owner of the heating company, Robert Pfeifer, received a call from someone named Eric, who demanded money. Authorities think John was slain sometime between the call to Robert and the arrival of the girls.
Eric contacted John’s house after 4 p.m., and Jamie answered. The cops had already arrived at that point. He asked for John and said that he owed him money. Jamie also stated that Eric sounded enraged. Soon later, Robert received a call from Eric, who claimed that John was in the hospital and that he wanted to pick up the check instead. When Eric was questioned, he mentioned a party on December 10, 2004, at John’s place. Eric and four other people were at John’s house when a black man with a weapon entered. However, Eric eventually changed his mind, and the rest of the party denied ever seeing a pistol.
What happened to Eric Babos?
While the murder weapon was never discovered, gunshot residue was found on the sleeves of Eric’s shirt worn at the time of the murder. Eric, who was 42 at the time, was convicted guilty of John’s murder in August 2005. He was sentenced to 18 years to life in jail a few months later. Eric has always maintained his innocence, and his lawyer stated in March 2006 that the murder was committed by someone else. Vincent Williams, a prisoner, stated that following the murder, a man called Valynn Rodgers confessed to killing John while hiding in Vincent’s girlfriend’s basement.
Authorities eventually discovered that John was planning to acquire narcotics from Valynn on the day of the murder, and the two had spoken the day before. He was later ruled out once it was discovered that he was elsewhere at the time. Eric requested that the shell shells found at the scene be tested for touch DNA in 2021. For the time being, he is being held at Lima’s Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution. In December 2022, he will be eligible for parole.