Merced College Honors Murdered Student

December 2, 2008 11:29:42 PM PST
The parents of a Navy veteran and Merced College student who was murdered in October accepted a special honor on his behalf Tuesday night.Michael Riley was on track to graduate from Merced College and then transfer to a four year university next fall. His murder left those dreams unfulfilled, but Tuesday night his parents accepted an honorary diploma in Michael's name.

The Merced College Board of Trustees said everyone who knew Michael described him as focused and intelligent. He was a political science major and an honor student who had earned a scholarship to attend Cal State Stanislaus.

The six year Navy veteran was planning to pursue a law degree and wanted to serve the underprivileged community. His parents say the diploma would have made Michael proud.

Marylene Riley/Michael's mother: "Mike loved school. He loved his college, and I'm just thankful to the college for the privilege of this. It's a heartfelt moment for the family." Earl Riley/Michael's sister: "I'm real proud of him. It means very much to me to see he was achieving the things he wanted to accomplish. I'm proud of him, and he would have been proud of himself too."

Michael was shot to death outside of a Merced apartment complex on October 7th. Police are still searching for suspects. The Riley family says it's especially difficult for them to know their son's killer has not been caught. They're asking anyone with information about the shooting to call police.

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