Following a brief hearing in Marshall County Circuit Court Feb. 1, Judge Mark A. Karl sentenced a New Martinsville man to four to 20 years in the West Virginia State Penitentiary for child abuse charges.
Justin C. Riggs, 23, of 558 Kappel Street, New Martinsville, appeared before the judge alongside Attorney Brent Clyburn on Feb. 1, who fought to have his client sentenced as a youthful offender. "Circumstantially that is, because of his age, he could be sentenced to the Anthony Center," Clyburn began. Stating that Riggs lacked "vocational abilities" due to his level of education, Clyburn continued saying, "He has no real training as far as the work force. I think that given that he qualifies, he can gain education such as a GED. I think that the Anthony Center would benefit Mr. Riggs."
"As of now, he doesn't have much of a future," Clyburn insisted.
Justin C. Riggs
"After his incarceration he still has a deficit. That can be corrected at the Anthony Center."
Promptly, Special Prosecuting Attorney Carl "Worthy" Paul stood in opposition of the defense's argument, saying, "His daughter has less than a future," referring to the irreparable damage Riggs inflicted upon his month-old daughter, Sabrina.
Despite Clyburn's efforts, Judge Karl sided with the state, noting that he felt the lesser sentence would send the wrong message to the community. "This child is permanently brain damaged," the judge solemnly stated.
"She really doesn't have much of a future. The motion is denied."
Following a strenuous two-day trial Nov. 14-15 in Marshall County, jurors found Riggs guilty of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury and malicious assault for inflicting injury to his month-old daughter, fracturing her skull, and causing life-long damage to her development.
For these offenses Riggs was sentenced to the state penitentiary for two to 10 years for each count to run consecutively.
On Jan. 26 Justin Riggs and codefendant Amanda D. Riggs, 23, of 558 Kappel Street, New Martinsville, entered innocent pleas to their two counts each of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury and malicious assault, felonious offenses said to have occurred on or about Feb. 18, 2010, in Wetzel County.
Amanda and Justin Riggs allegedly abused their minor child and caused bodily injury to their child with the intent to maim, disfigure, or kill, by inflicting injuries to the child's skull.
On July 25, Amanda Riggs pleaded guilty to count one of the indictment via a plea agreement and was sentenced to two to 10 years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Women.