UPDATE: Dog Shooting Suspects Appear in Court

By: Ruth Showalter Email
By: Ruth Showalter Email

May 5, 2011

The two men charged in the fatal shooting of a prized family pet in the Earlysville area appeared in Albemarle County General District Court on Thursday.

Twenty-six-year-old Justin Riggs, of Charlottesville, was denied bond. He has been charged with cruelty to animals, taking game or fish during closed season and possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a violent felony.

His alleged partner in the crime, 21-year-old Brian Tichner, of Dyke, testified that Riggs was the one who pulled the trigger and killed Mattie, a 10-month-old Siberian Husky belonging to Ed and Yvonne Scarborough. They reported the shooting outside their home in the Fray's Grant neighborhood in January.

"He did it. Only one person can pull the trigger," said Tichner, who has been charged with possession of a firearm after having been convicted of a violent felony.

Riggs' wife also testified Thursday. She told the judge her husband is a good father and requested he be released on bond because he is the bread-winner of the family.

Both men also have a criminal past. Court records indicate Riggs has been previously charged with firing a missile into an occupied vehicle and several other minor offenses, including a probation violation. Tichner was accused three years ago of breaking and entering and grand larceny.

Tichner's preliminary hearing has been moved to May 12 at 9:30am. He testified against Riggs in hopes of receiving a lesser sentence.

Riggs will go before a grand jury on June 6 to be formally indicted.

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