Murder case heads to grand jury

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By Calen McKinney


A grand jury may be asked to decide tomorrow whether they will charge Richard Riggs with shooting and killing Orvey Carl Harris last month.

Riggs, 56, of 3150 Maple Road in Campbellsville, was arrested last month and charged with murdering Harris, 60, of 10331 Saloma Road in Campbellsville.

Riggs now awaits his upcoming court appearances in the Taylor County Detention Center, held on a $500,000 cash bond.

Riggs has pleaded not guilty to murder, which is a Class A felony punishable by as much as life in prison.

Last Wednesday, Taylor County Sheriff's Detective Brian Pickard appeared in Taylor District Court to discuss Harris' death.

According to court records, District Court Judge Connie S. Phillips ruled there is enough probable cause in the case to have a grand jury hear the allegations against Riggs. Records state that Greensburg attorney Danny Butler will represent Riggs.

According to a Taylor County Sheriff's Office report, deputies received a report of a shooting at the Saloma Road home at 9:20 p.m. on Friday, April 19.

Upon arrival, the report states, deputies found Harris dead with a single gunshot wound to his chest.

After an investigation, deputies learned that Riggs allegedly came to Harris' home at about 9 p.m. and a physical altercation took place. During the altercation, the report states, Riggs allegedly shot Harris in the chest and fled the scene.

Court records state that witnesses at the scene have identified Riggs as the person who shot Harris.

Deputies arrested Riggs about an hour after the incident at his home. Pickard is continuing to investigate the case.

Taylor County Sheriff Allen Newton has said he doesn't know why Harris and Riggs were arguing.

Newton said last month that his office will ask for a gag order in the case.

If a judge approves the order, Riggs' case file will be sealed and witnesses in the case will be ordered to not talk to each other.

He said there are juvenile witnesses involved in the case and he believes they should be protected.

On Friday, Newton said there was some discussion about the gag order at last Wednesday's hearing, though one hasn't yet been entered. A circuit court judge is the only judge who can enter a gag order.

Riggs' case won't be assigned to a circuit court judge unless a grand jury indicts him. The case against Riggs meets the criteria for a gag order, Newton said.

Newton said he believes the case against Riggs will be presented to the Taylor County grand jury at its meeting tomorrow. He said he believes a murder charge will take precedence over any other cases they will be asked to consider.

If the grand jury issues an indictment, it is a legal accusation only and does not establish guilt.

According to court records, Harris' wife, Betty, called police and reported that her husband and Riggs were arguing and Riggs had shot her husband.

Records state that someone drove Riggs to his home after the alleged murder. That person then called police and reported he had driven Riggs and that Riggs was still at his home.

After a search warrant was issued for Harris' home, police seized two .38 caliber Smith and Wesson guns. Court records also state that DNA samples and fingerprints were taken from Riggs.

Harris was a long-time employee at Miller Sawmill and then later at Cox Interior.