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1995 St. George bomber is accused of 'extremely violent' domestic abuse
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A man who bombed several buildings in St. George in 1995 allegedly has beaten his wife and children repeatedly since his release from prison three years ago, recently holding a sawed-off shotgun to their heads and choking them.

Sean Riker's wife and four children fled from him Tuesday, just one week after the family moved from Utah to Wisconsin, according to charges filed Thursday in Racine, Wis.

"When I get beaten, I'm all sore ... all the time, the beating, the hair pulling, the choking, the punching, the belt and everything," Riker's 8-year-old stepdaughter allegedly told police.

The family moved from Utah this month because Riker's job was transferred, police wrote. On Tuesday, his wife and children arrived at the Sheriff's Office to report "extremely violent" abuse during their week in Wisconsin and for three years in Utah.

Riker was released from prison in 2006, 11 years after he was arrested for bombing three businesses and an elementary school in St. George.

He was on supervised release until 2008, which a judge ended one year early because Riker had "married and started a family, has maintained full-time employment and has been a responsible member of society," according to the order.

But the family's statements to police this week paint another picture.

On Nov. 6, Riker produced a sawed-off shotgun and told his wife she should buy some ammunition for him, police wrote. He held the empty shotgun to the heads of his wife, the 8-year-old and their 11-month-old son, pulling the trigger each time, police wrote.

One day earlier, Riker had attacked the 8-year-old stepdaughter after he locked his keys in the house, police wrote. He blamed the daughter, broke the door handle to get in and then picked the child up by her neck and slammed her head into the door multiple times, police wrote.

When his wife intervened, he allegedly choked her, threw her to the floor and beat her.

The wife "had learned from past events to fake passing out so he would let up on the choke hold," police wrote.

He also attacked a 9-year-old stepdaughter, punching her and slamming her head against a bedpost after she told him to stop "touching" her, police wrote. He allegedly told her that "if she didn't give him 'love,' then she had to pay her way around the house," police wrote. He then made her do chores, police wrote.

In an attack Monday, he slammed the two girls' heads together, swung them by their hair and beat them after finding chicken broth on the carpet, police wrote.

He allegedly threw away their crayons and doused their school notebooks in the sink, ordering his wife to get home schooling forms because the girls would not be returning to school.

The 8-year-old later told police she loves school because when she's at school she feels safe, investigators wrote.

"She told investigators that 'she had not had one good day' since Sean Riker became her dad," police wrote.

In 2006, while Riker was living in a halfway house in the waning months of his bombing sentence, he was charged with aggravated assault against his now-wife and two counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child. The woman claimed he hit her and tried to rub her face in milk she spilled while trying to flee, according to charges. She said he then grabbed her by the throat and pushed her against the wall, choking her and lifting her off the floor.

Three days after the charges were filed, Riker forwarded to the judge a letter by the woman, in which she claims she felt "pressured into ... exaggerating" and that no assault happened. She said she lied so that Riker would be arrested.

"I cannot feel right ... about Sean being charged with aggravated assault and domestic violence when he did not hit me," she wrote.

The case was dismissed.

Riker was charged Thursday in Wisconsin state court with three counts of first-degree felony reckless endangerment, felony possession of a firearm by a felon, felony strangulation, five felony counts of physical abuse of a child, two felony counts of causing mental harm to a child and misdemeanor battery.

Time line of Sean Riker's crimes

1995 bombings » Riker detonates pipe bombs at Star Flag and Display, Dixie Auto Sales, Woodward Elementary School and Agave bookstore.

1997 guilty plea » Riker pleads guilty to federal charges, sentenced to 12 years federal prison.

2006 release » Riker released from custody, domestic assault charges dismissed.

2008 no supervision » Supervised release terminated one year early

2009

Nov. 3 » Riker and family move to Waterford, Wis.

Nov. 10 » Riker arrested after wife and family report violence to police

Nov. 12 » Riker charged for alleged beatings

Crime » Four children, wife detail his beatings, chokings and child-sex advances.
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