Dog Shooting Suspect Enters Guilty Plea

August 23, 2011

One of two men charged in connection to the fatal shooting of a family pet in January has pleaded guilty.

Charlottesville resident Justin Riggs entered a plea agreement Tuesday morning that will include a mandatory two years behind bars. He was sentenced to three years total, but avoided a possible sentence of ten years by making the plea deal.

Riggs was charged with cruelty to animals, taking game or fish during closed season and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Although, those charges were reduced under the terms of the plea agreement.

His alleged partner in the crime, Brian Tichner, of Dyke, testified in May that Riggs was the one who pulled the trigger and killed Mattie, a 10-month-old Siberian Husky belonging to Ed and Yvonne Scarborough.

"He did it. Only one person can pull the trigger," said Tichner, who was indicted in June and says he will plead guilty to a weapons charge at a hearing on Sept. 13.

The Scarborough reported the shooting outside their home in the Fray's Grant neighborhood in January.

The family was no in court Tuesday but is said to be "okay" with the plea deal.

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