The man, Scott Riggleman, admitted to the crime but faced no prison time under the proposed agreement.
A judge in Texas has refused to accept a plea deal negotiated between prosecutors and a 63-year-old man accused of killing his estranged wife’s dogs and displaying their remains at her workplace
Nineteenth District Court Judge Thomas West rejected the deal, which included a recommendation for deferred probation for 10 years, opting to potentially send Riggleman to trial instead. Riggleman had pleaded guilty to two counts of cruelty to non-livestock animals, and initially faced additional charges of felony stalking and making a terroristic threat. Prosecutors dropped the stalking charge, while the terroristic threat charge remains pending. Riggleman now faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the third-degree felonies of animal cruelty.
The decision to reject the plea deal highlights the discretionary power of judges in Texas and other jurisdictions to assess the appropriateness of negotiated agreements. However, it remains unclear why Judge West chose not to accept the proposed terms.
Riggleman’s attorney, Sandy Gately, and McLennan County District Attorney Josh Tetens did not provide immediate comments or further information on the judge’s ruling
According to reports, the incident occurred on December 5, 2022, when Riggleman’s estranged wife discovered the dead dogs in the parking lot of her workplace. The animals, Smokey and Frankie, had been stabbed and shot multiple times before being placed in a manner intended to alarm the woman. She had previously separated from Riggleman in September of that year and claimed that he had made threats against her and her colleagues, leading to his admission to a medical facility under an emergency detention order.
The case will now proceed to trial, where Riggleman could face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the animal cruelty charges.