Vincent Riggs, II was convicted of murder and armed robbery
in connection with the 2013 strangulation and beating death
of Dr. Charles Mann, III. He appeals, asserting error in the
trial court's refusal to allow him to answer a question
on re-direct examination or, in the alternative, ineffective
assistance of counsel due to failure to preserve that error
for appeal. For the reasons below, we affirm.
in the light most favorable to the verdicts, the evidence
shows that Riggs solicited sex online, and Mann responded to
one of Riggs' ads on Craigslist. Riggs gave Mann his
address and phone number and told him to bring cash, a
laptop, and beer to Riggs' home. When Mann arrived, Riggs
invited him inside and escorted him to the bedroom. Riggs
went to the bathroom while Mann undressed, and when Riggs
returned, he told Mann they were not going to have sex and to
leave the cash, the laptop, and the beer. Mann turned to
leave the room, and Riggs attacked him from behind, put him
in a headlock, and choked him until he passed out. Riggs then
beat Mann in the head with a 25-pound weight "to make
sure that he was gone."
going through Mann's pockets, Riggs wrapped Mann's
body in bedsheets, placed it in the trunk of Mann's car,
and drove the car to a bridge where he dumped Mann's body
into the creek below. Riggs then drove Mann's car to
another location, wiped it down, and abandoned it on a vacant
parcel of land at the end of a partially blocked dirt road or
trail. Riggs walked home and tried to clean up the scene,
tearing up and replacing parts of the carpet where the murder
took place and bleaching other parts to remove Mann's
blood. The next day, Riggs called his grandmother, who owned
the house where Riggs lived, and enlisted her help in
cleaning up the blood, telling her that a terminally ill
friend with cancer had hemorrhaged while visiting him.
Mann did not show up for work, his supervisor contacted law
enforcement. Meanwhile, a concerned citizen noticed the
abandoned car and contacted police, who found blood in and
around the trunk as well as an index card with directions to
Riggs' home and his phone number. When the police went to
Riggs' home and questioned him, he denied knowing the
victim or anything about the index card. The next day, Riggs
messaged a close friend on a social media site, saying,
"I'm really gone for a long time. I killed a man . .
. and the law onto me . . . ." The friend called the
police about the message. Riggs was arrested and confessed to
killing Mann, telling investigators where they would find the
body. Riggs' recorded statement was played for the jury.
At Riggs' home, police found Mann's blood as well as
his clothing, watch, and shoes in a trash can behind the
had extensive injuries to his neck and head, including
fractured vertebrae, a fractured hyoid bone and thyroid
cartilage, petechial hemorrhages indicative of strangulation,
and extensive blunt force trauma to the mouth, face, and
head, including open wounds, displaced teeth, a fractured
jaw, and broken facial bones. The medical examiner attributed
the death to strangulation and blunt force head trauma.
trial, Riggs testified in his own defense. On direct
examination by his counsel, Riggs claimed that he was not
interested in having sex with Mann, but pretended that he was
in order to lure Mann to his house and rob him. Riggs also
testified that Mann said, "We're going to do this
whether you like it or not." On cross-examination, Riggs
volunteered that he was afraid for his life and that he also
was afraid he would be raped. But Riggs also acknowledged
that he never told the police investigator who interviewed
him that he was afraid for his life or that Mann threatened
him, either with the words he testified to on direct
examination or otherwise.
Though Riggs has not challenged the sufficiency of the
evidence to support his convictions, it is this Court's
practice in murder cases to review the record to determine
the legal sufficiency of the evidence. Having done so, we
conclude that the evidence summarized above was more than
sufficient to enable a rational trier of fact to conclude
beyond a reasonable doubt that Riggs was guilty of the crimes
of which he was convicted. See Jackson v. Virginia,
443 U.S. 307 (99 S.Ct. 2781, 61 L.Ed.2d 560) (1979).
Riggs asserts that the trial court erred in barring his
testimony that he was raped at age 11. On cross-examination,
after Riggs testified that he was afraid for his life, the
prosecutor asked Riggs why he was afraid of Mann, a much
older and smaller man: "This man right here, you, 210,
five-nine, you're afraid for your life?"
A. I thought he was going to rape me.
Q. You thought he was going to rape you, but you invited him
there under the pretense of sex; right?
A. No. I invited him there under the pretense of robbing him.
Q. But you led him to believe that you were going to ...