An Oklee man convicted of murder was sentenced Wednesday, Jan. 11 in Pennington County District to 480 months in prison.
Eric James Reinbold, 46, was convicted of felony offenses of second-degree murder – with intent, and second-degree murder – while committing a second-degree assault. Reinbold was sentenced on the former charge. He was given credit for 525 days served. In addition, Reinbold was ordered to supply a DNA sample. He has been banned from possessing firearms for his lifetime unless that right were restored. Reinbold was also ordered to pay $135 in fees and fines, and $8,790.33 in restitution. A sentence wasn’t pronounced for the latter offense.
In September, a Pennington County jury convicted Reinbold of murdering his wife, Lissette. Lissette Reinbold’s oldest son found his mom dead in her driveway on the morning of July 9, 2021. She had suffered 27 sharp-force injuries to her hands, neck and other areas of her body. It was apparent she fought her killer. The medical examiner testified that he believed the fatal wound was a stab wound to her chest that struck her heart. She then hemorrhaged internally. The murder weapon was never found.
Reinbold was initially scheduled to be sentenced during an in-person court hearing Dec. 14; however, snowy weather led it to be rescheduled to the following week as a Zoom hearing. On Dec. 21, it was revealed that he had fired his attorney and instead wanted to be sentenced in person. At that time, Assistant Minnesota Attorney General John Gross told Judge Tamara Yon that he wasn’t interested in any additional games being played by Reinbold. He referred to the changes as gamesmanship. Sentencing was then postponed to Jan. 11. Reinbold is now represented by Chris Cadem. Gross prosecuted the case along with Assistant Pennington County Attorney Max LaCoursiere.
On Wednesday, victim impact statements were also read as part of the sentencing hearing. Victim impact statements were read on behalf of Lissette Reinbold’s mother and sister-in-law. Eric Reinbold’s parents also read their own victim impact statements. His aunt and uncle also provided victim impact statements. More information about the sentencing hearing will appear in this week’s edition of the Northern Watch.
A continuance was granted in an unrelated case involving allegations of felony first degree assault, felony attempted escape from custody and felony fourth degree assault. A court hearing hasn’t yet been scheduled in connection with that case in which Eric Reinbold allegedly assaulted two Pennington County Jail corrections officers in an attempt to escape June 4.
Reinbold was arrested without incident on a vacant Oklee farmstead after he had been on the lam for 26 days. When he was arrested Aug. 4, 2021, Reinbold was wearing a pair of boots. Law enforcement testified that the tread appeared to match some footprints found south of the residence after the murder.
At the time of the murder, Eric Reinbold had also been on federal probation for a 2017 federal case in which he was convicted of possessing pipe bombs. Reinbold had been released from federal custody four months earlier after a federal judge granted compassionate release.
There was no DNA or blood evidence linking Eric Reinbold to the murder. A single strand of male hair was found on Lissette Reinbold’s body. It didn’t match Eric Reinbold, his son, his two stepsons, or two law enforcement officers who were among the first people to respond to the scene. It also didn’t match any individuals in a national crime justice DNA database or any Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension analysts.
A note was found on Eric Reinbold’s workbench that said, “Jesus forgive me of my sins.” It was found steps away from Lissette Reinbold’s dead body. A handwriting expert testified that it was highly probable that Eric Reinbold wrote the note. It was unknown when it was written.
The state presented numerous text messages between the couple. In some of those text messages exchanged the day before the murder, Eric Reinbold texted his wife about his sexual needs and taking ownership of her vagina. He also referred to her as a constant threat to cheat on him.
The state also presented evidence that Eric Reinbold had searched for an article regarding how to determine whether someone is cheating. There was no evidence to suggest Lissette Reinbold had, in fact, cheated on her husband.
In addition, a man testified that Eric Reinbold had told him four years earlier that he would kill his wife if she ever cheated on him. Scott McDonald testified that Eric Reinbold referred to his wife in a different conversation, saying, “I feed it and treat it like a human.”
Eric Reinbold had been staying at a camper about three-fourths of a mile from the couple’s home since his stepsons were visiting the family in the days prior to the murder. The Reinbolds’ daughter, now age 12, testified that her dad picked her and her younger brother, now age 9, up in a Buick to drive them to the camper the evening before the murder. Lissette Reinbold and her two sons from a previous relationship stayed at the Reinbold home that evening. The following morning, Jared Lenhart, now 15, found his mom’s dead body.
Gross posited to the jury that Eric Reinbold waited for his wife undetected in a detached garage, wrote the note and then attacked her when she was leaving for work at Sanford Health. Lissette Reinbold’s phone, sandals and yogurt container were strewn near her body.
When law enforcement processed the scene, they located Eric Reinbold’s Buick about 200 feet from the Reinbolds’ home, not near the camper. The couple’s remaining vehicles were outside of the home.
The Reinbolds’ two children told authorities that their dad was gone when they awoke that morning.