Justin Riggs and Brian Tichner have been arrested in connection with a January 15 dog shooting in Earlysville.
Just 10 months old, Mattie the Siberian Husky was shot and killed in her own yard by a high-powered rifle.
Two and a half months after a 10-month old Siberian Husky named Mattie was shot and killed in an Earlysville-area front yard, police have made two arrests.
Twenty-six-year-old Justin Tyler Riggs of Charlottesville was arrested Tuesday, March 29, and charged with possession of a firearm as a violent felon, cruelty to animals, and illegal hunting for his role in the January 15 shooting. Twenty-one-year-old Brian Charles Tichner of Dyke, arrested March 30, has been charged only with possession of a firearm as a violent felon, suggesting investigators believe Riggs pulled the trigger.
In the days after the incident, Mattie's owners, Yvonne and Ed Scarborough, put up a $10,000 reward and expressed their horror that someone would have killed the friendly pup, who was contained by an electric fence in their Fray's Grant subdivision yard.
"He probably called her," Yvonne Scarborough theorized of the shooter in a pre-arrest interview. "He shot her right in the chest. He just shot her in cold blood."
When the family beckoned their dogs in that night, only Max, Mattie's littermate, responded. The Scarboroughs' teenaged son went out looking for Mattie and discovered her in the yard, lying dead in a pool of blood.
"She probably thought he wanted to pet her," said Scarborough, breaking into tears.
The human members of the Scarborough family weren't the only ones to mourn her passing. Littermate Max was despondent.
"He wouldn't even eat; he just lay on her grave," Scarborough sobbed. "He won't play, he won't eat, he searches for her– he knows where she is."
The Scarboroughs' $10,000 reward swelled to more than $25,000 after community donations, according to the Newsplex, which reports that the money may not be paid out since the arrests were a result of police investigation, not a community tip.
Albemarle County court records show four prior criminal convictions for Riggs:
2003 - launching a missile into an occupied vehicle
2005 - unlawful wounding
2005 - felon in possession of a firearm
2005 - probation violation
Tichner holds a pair of felony convictions of his own. In 2008, he was found guilty of grand larceny and breaking & entering.
Both Riggs and Tichner are being held at Albemarle/Charlottesville Regional Jail, and both are scheduled to appear in Albemarle County General District Court on May 5.