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New prosecutor will be assigned to Riggs murder case

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By Calen McKinney

 

A new attorney will be appointed to prosecute the man accused of shooting and killing another man earlier this year.

Richard Riggs, 57, of 3150 Maple Road, appeared in Taylor Circuit Court on Tuesday for a pretrial hearing in the criminal case that accuses him of shooting and killing Orvey Carl Harris, 60, of 10331 Saloma Road, in late April.

Riggs has been incarcerated at the Taylor County Detention Center since his arrest in April. He remained there at press time on a $500,000 cash bond.

He was indicted by a Taylor County grand jury in May and charged with murder.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges when he was arraigned in June before Taylor Circuit Court Judge Allan Bertram.

Riggs appeared before Bertram for a brief conference in his case.

Greensburg attorney Danny Butler, who represents Riggs, told Bertram that a new prosecutor will be assigned in Riggs╒ case, and some time is needed to make those arrangements.

Commonwealth's Attorney Shelly Miller had been prosecuting Riggs. She didn╒t appear in court Tuesday, though a representative from her office did.

The reason for using another prosecutor in the case wasn╒t discussed during Tuesday╒s hearing.

Bertram set a pretrial hearing in Riggs╒ case for Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 1 p.m.

Butler said that will be appropriate, since the prosecutor assigned to the case will need some time to become familiar with the allegations in the case.

In June, Riggs was denied a request to lower his $500,000 cash bond. His bond was not discussed during Tuesday's hearing.

If convicted, Riggs could be sentenced to as much as life in prison.

 

The Case

Riggs is accused of shooting and killing Harris on Friday, April 19.

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

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

After an investigation, deputies learned 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 identified Riggs as the person who shot Harris.

Deputies arrested Riggs about an hour later at his home. Taylor County Sheriff's Detective Brian Pickard is investigating the case.

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

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 Riggs' 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 later at Cox Interior. He was known as an avid fisherman, hunter and family man.

Ñ An indictment is a legal accusation only. It does not establish guilt.