Roommate, friend of suspect in Trigg Co. murders speak out - WSMV News 4

Roommate, friend of suspect in Trigg Co. murders speak out

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Vito Riservato (Source: Facebook) Vito Riservato (Source: Facebook)

Several questions remain after the murder of three family members inside a Trigg County home on Sunday.

The roommate of the suspect revealed details to Channel 4 News that could take the investigation in a new direction.

On Sunday, police found four bodies at a home in Cadiz, KY. The victims were identified as Lindsey, Joy and Emily Champion. The fourth body belonged to 22-year-old Vito Riservato.

Sunday morning, Riservato walked out of a house in Hopkinsville, leaving his cell phone behind, according to Ariel Lower.

Lower was Riservato's roommate and longtime friend.

"When he left that day, you could tell something was wrong," Lower said. "But he was still Vito."

Riservato was one of Lower's seven roommates living at a home in Hopkinsville. She said Riservato and his 1-year-old son moved into the house in August.

"Vito came down the steps, threw his phone on the table, on the couch, and told me and [and my girlfriend] he'd be back in the next two to three hours," Lower said. "And we never heard from him again."

Kentucky State Police have named Riservato as the suspect in the murders.

Lower said she found out when police came to the house.

"The police had showed up here Monday, Sunday afternoon and provided us with a search warrant to search Vito's room," Lower said.

Lower described Riservato as happy, chatty and upbeat. But she said over the last three weeks, he changed.

"He got let go from his job, so he was struggling with money," Lower said. "He was upset because he couldn't afford anything for his son."

According to Lower, Riservato was supposed to start a new job on Wednesday. In the meantime, he had found something else.

"He was on call for a welding or a molding job in Cadiz," Lower said.

He gave no other additional details, Lower said.

Lower said Riservato never mentioned his plans on Sunday, but she felt something wasn't right.

Andre Collins, a friend of Riservato, called him a good guy.

"He was really popular in a way, really nice," Collins said. "Never saw him having problems with anybody else."

Riservato attended Hopkinsville High School and graduated in 2010. Collins said he knew him through JROTC.

"He never gave me a strange vibe at all," Collins said. "It really doesn't come together. He wouldn't do something like that."

Ryan Champion, the Champion family's first child, said he was inside the house during the shooting and survived. He kept mum on certain details, afraid to jeopardize the investigation.

"I was able to turn the tables on him. He got close enough to me that I could turn the tables, and that was it," Ryan Champion told Channel 4 on Monday. "Every minute the entire thing was going on, that's all I was waiting for. I was waiting for an opportunity."

Lower recalled a conversation she had with Riservato more than a week ago.

"He told us that somebody told him that he would pay him a certain amount of money, like an extreme amount of money to kill somebody, she said.

Lower said Riservato never said if he would follow through, but she told him how she felt.

"I told him he was crazy if he did it," she said.

Troopers said the four autopsies should be finished by Tuesday. The results could shed light on what happened that day.

Police said Riservato briefly met the victims last week before the shooting.

"Very, very short relationship, but that's all I can say about that subject," Ryan Champion said on Monday.

Champion said he could only reveal certain details to protect the ongoing investigation.

After seeing Ryan Champion's interview with Channel 4, Lower said she came forward.

"I knew they were friends," Lower said. "I knew Ryan's name always popped up."

She refuses to believe her roommate killed people he barely met.

"I feel like Vito was set up," Lower said. "Vito needs justice like everybody else needs justice."

"I'm not saying Vito's innocent," she said. If Vito did it, he's in the wrong. Nobody deserves death, but I hope he gets justice."

Several roommates also said Ryan Champion and Riservato knew each other for years. Ryan Champion told Channel 4 on Tuesday that was "absolutely not true" and he only knew Riservato for less than a week.

Kentucky State Police said they could not comment because the investigation is ongoing. They are looking at how the two men were connected.

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