Charlottesville Breaking News

Bond denied: Man says dog-shooting followed drinking, hunting

One of two convicted felons arrested for their alleged role in the January shooting of a family dog is claiming that it was all a mistake–- that they went drinking and hunting for deer with a vermin gun, when the shooter made a tragic target error. The claims, aired May 5 in Albemarle County General District Court, didn't win any immediate bail, and the assertion that they were deer-hunting with a .17– a rifle whose bullet typically weighs about half the weight of a .22– won only disbelief from the dog's owner.

"Why would you go hunting for deer with a .17, knowing you're not going to be able to bring something down?" asks Mattie's owner, Ed Scarborough. He says that when he and his wife took the dog's body to the veterinarian after the incident to retrieve the bullet, the vet told them it hadn't hit any major organs.

"She bled to death over some period of time," says Scarborough, noting that the allegedly errant hunters could have alerted the family of the accident– if that's what it was.

"If they'd come up to the door and said, 'We accidentally shot your dog,'" he says, "we could have possibly saved her. I don't believe a damn thing they're saying, other than the fact they shot the dog."

Twenty-six year old Justin Tyler Riggs was denied bond after his companion that night, 21-year-old Brian Tichner, testified agains...

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The week in review

Deadliest month for tornadoes: Violent storms across Virginia April 27-28 leave four dead in Washington County in southwest Virginia, and one dead in Southside's Halifax County, the AP reports. Two deaths in Pulaski April 16 make April  the second worst since a September 30, 1959, tornado killed 12 people in the Ivy area.

Grimmest homicide scene: Three bodies, apparently victims of gunshot wounds, are found dumped on a Greene County road near Stanardsville around 3am May 3.

Worst homeless casualty: The Albemarle County Fair looks DOA this year because it doesn't have a site upon which to hold the up-until-now annual event. Brandon Shulleeta has the story in the Daily Progress.

Biggest computer heist: Albemarle Public Schools are missing 111 computers using primarily for Standards of Learning testing and kept in a secure, off-site facility, according to a police release. Alex C. Hunt, 34, of Stanardsville is a...

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Greene slaying: One victim was attacker turned artist

One of the victims in the May 3 triple-slaying in Greene County was 25-year-old Charlottesville resident Dustin Tyler Knighton, a man who appears to be a self-taught artist who wrote frankly about life and art during a five-year prison stint.

"Sometimes I think to myself, I had to go to prison to find out that I could draw," Knighton wrote on his biography at

The other victims were 26-year-old Brian Robert Lee Daniels of Charlottesville man and 26-year-old Lisa Hwang, no address given. On May 6, suspect Taybronne Altereik White taken into custody charged with various offenses stemming from an allegedly related home invasion.

City court records indicated that Knighton's criminal career began when the then 18-year-old was arrested for an alleged strong-arm robbery of the wallet and watch of a man named Adam Vineyard on June 14, 2003. Then, just five days later, Knighton allegedly stole a 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass from Belen Martinez. He pleaded to reduced charges of grand larcency and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

But then came September 21, 2003, when Knighton allegedly participated in "assault and battery by mob." The highly-publicized battery on two UVA students near the corner of 17th Street and Gordon Avenue caused blo...

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SRO time: The Crossings begins its rise downtown

The Crossings, an apartment complex designed to prevent the phenomenon of "Million Dollar Murray," has begun its rise at the corner of Preston Avenue and Fourth Street.

In a 2006 New Yorker article (recently republished in his collection What the Dog Saw), journalist Malcolm Gladwell relates the tale of a lovable-yet-hopeless Reno, Nevada, drunk named Murray Barr. Over a decade, Barr ran up a million-dollar tab in public services including frequent emergency room visits and repeated arrests and incarcerations for public intoxication.

"It would probably have been cheaper," Gladwell concludes, "to give him a full-time nurse and his own apartment."

Charlottesville's City Council took note and in 2009 approved a controversial zoning law change to enable the so-called Crossings at Fourth and Preston to be developed on the site of a former mini-mall, later owned by the Region Ten Community Services Board.

The single room occupancy, or SRO, complex will consist of 60 studio apartments with half of them reserved for the homeless.

Public land records show that the City purchased the site last year for $1.55 million and then transferred it in March to Crossings at Fourth and Preston LLC, a creation of a nonprofit group called ...

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