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Was an Accused Knife-Wielding Robber Sleep(walk)ing On the Job?

Winston Riley
Connecticut Department of Corrections

A Connecticut man arrested for attempting to rob a woman at knifepoint a while back has come up with an interesting defense — he says he was sleepwalking at the time. We’ve heard of sleep-eating before, but sleep-robbing? That’s a new one.

According to reports, 27-year-old Winston Riley flashed a knife and attempted to steal an 81-year-old woman’s purse in a parking garage elevator at the Mohegan Sun casino. The woman resisted and Riley fled the scene.

However, Riley told his lawyer, Nicholas D’Amato, that he was sleepwalking at the time and was startled awake during the altercation. He ran, he said, because he was confused and frightened.

D’Amato is now preparing a medical defense for Riley, who has reportedly been sleepwalking ever since he was a child. “It is the first time we’ve encountered this,” he said. “This is a legitimate medical condition.”

What’s more, D’Amato said his client had no motive for the robbery. “Here’s a guy who’s 27-years-old, no criminal record, married,” he said. “Do you honestly think he woke up one morning, drove across the state and decided to rob a woman in a place full of security cameras? It doesn’t make sense if you think about it rationally.”

What do you think? Was Riley really sleepwalking? (He does look a little sleepy in his mugshot.) Or is this just a lame excuse?

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