Macon teenager gets 30 years after robbery conviction

A jury found a Macon teen guilty of armed robbery and other charges late Wednesday afternoon.

Dexter “D.J.” Riggins, who turns 16 today, was sentenced to 30 years in prison by Superior Court Judge Martha Christian.

After pronouncing the sentence, Christian said, “It’s a tragedy, Mr. Riggins.”

The teen won’t be eligible for parole consideration until he has served 25 of the 30 years. Riggins was convicted of armed robbery, one of the “seven deadly sins” in the state’s legal system that allows for him to be tried as an adult. He also was sentenced to five years of probation for possession of a firearm with a false identification.

John Regan, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case, had asked for a life sentence, but he said he was satisfied with the decision.

“He’ll be off the streets for the next 25 years,” Regan said.

Riggins was convicted of the Dec. 26, 2008, armed robbery of Curtis Davis outside his apartment on Houston Avenue. Davis testified Tuesday that as he was returning to his apartment, he heard somebody run up behind him. Riggins held a gun to Davis’ head, demanded his money and ordered him to drop his pants.

As Davis was pulling up his pants and jumping into an apartment hallway, he heard a gunshot.

During the trial, defense attorney James Rockefeller contended that Riggins had an alibi at the time — he was playing football with family and friends — and that there was no gunshot or DNA residue from a mask, a gun and gloves that police found near the scene of the robbery.

After the jury verdict, Rockefeller and Riggins’ mother, Rhonda Everett, asked Christian not to give Riggins a life sentence.

“We appreciate the judge showing mercy in her sentence,” Rockefeller said as he left the courtroom.

Riggins has had previous run-ins with the law. He pleaded guilty to robbery by force in December 2007 in which Riggins and Rico Orlando Harris, 20, took a man’s pants and wallet. He hasn’t been sentenced yet in that case, Regan said.

Riggins was sentenced to a year’s probation in October 2006 for aggravated assault after throwing a padlock out of a bus window.

The lock hit the windshield of a passing vehicle. In that case, he was ordered to perform 80 hours of community service, 60 days of suspended confinement and ordered to pay restitution, according to court records.

Riggins also is charged with murder in the December 2007 shooting death of Antonio Harris, 29. That case is still pending.

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was included in this report. To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.