A 20-year-old man has been sentenced to 51 years in prison for the murder of two men in a Minnesota drug dispute.
Lavell Jacvon Piggie, 20, was sentenced Friday to 612 months in prison for the murders of Malik Travon Carr-Riggins, 23, and Samuel Ritzman, 30. Piggie pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in May, according to a press release from Hennepin County District Attorney Mary Moriarty.
“He could dazzle anyone with a smile, and he was gone instantly,” Ritzman’s mother Nancy said through tears in court.
Carr-Riggins left behind five children, ages 8, 3, 2 (twins) and 9 months, her mother, Consandra Carr, said on GoFundMe, hoping to raise money for the children’s funeral costs and expenses .
“As this drama was unexpected, he was one of the only carers, and to make the transition more accessible; we ask the community to help us help our family,” the site says.
His death was made even more traumatic because Piggie was considered a family friend, FOX 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul reported.
In court, Cianche Felton, who organized the GoFundMe campaign, said: “Malik’s death was personal and we want justice.
Piggie’s defense attorney, Joseph Friedberg, argued for the lower sentence, saying in court, “he was under the influence of gang members almost from the time he came out of the crib.”
But the judge gave him the maximum sentence under the plea deal.
Prosecutors said Piggie admitted to a brazen double murder and was now held legally responsible.
“I see no remorse, no concern for his fellow man,” Nancy Ritzman said.
According to the criminal complaint, officers responded to a report of gunfire near 2031 Sheridan Avenue N in Minneapolis around 3:40 p.m. on February 10, 2022.
Once there, officers spotted a four-door sedan that jumped the curb and came to a stop in a snowdrift, prosecutors said. The rear passenger side door was open, but the vehicle was still rolling and running. Officers saw two dead men in the front seat.
Through phone data, surveillance footage and witness testimony, authorities said Piggie was seen getting into the car with the two victims, and the three then drove for eight minutes in north Minneapolis.
Around 3:42 p.m., surveillance video in the area recorded eight shots. Witnesses and surveillance video followed one individual – Piggie – getting out of the car after the gunshots and driving away, prosecutors said.
He was arrested on February 22, 2022, after a high-speed chase ended when police spun his vehicle into a PIT (Precision Immobilization Technique) maneuver – used by police to force a fleeing vehicle to turn 180 degrees.
Authorities said they recovered significant amounts of suspected crack cocaine, marijuana, fentanyl, more than $3,000 in cash and a bag full of .40 caliber live ammunition from Piggie’s residence.
Case Samuel Ritzman’s obituary said he loved family, sports and poetry slams.
“He also had an incredibly huge heart, wanting to take care of others, always putting them first, sometimes wrongly,” the obituary read. “Then there was that dazzling smile that continued through his trials and journeys since high school, charming everyone he came across. His family and friends will be lost without him.
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