Crime & Courts

Burke County man pleads guilty to murdering his father

A 25-year-old Burke County man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Monday in the 2011 fatal stabbing of his father in Lenoir and was sentenced to at least 16 years in prison.

Joshua Kelly Riggs of Glen Alpine also pleaded guilty to statutory rape of his 15-year-old girlfriend and will serve at least six years on that plea after completing his sentence on the murder conviction, Caldwell County prosecutors said.

Ned Jones Riggs, 58, was fatally stabbed in his home in the Lower Creek community of Lenoir.

Prosecutors said Joshua Riggs had became enraged while arguing with his father over custody of a child Joshua Riggs thought his girlfriend at the time was carrying. Joshua Riggs stabbed his father multiple times and slit his throat, prosecutors said.

Joshua Riggs took his father’s wallet and the knife and went with friend Zachary Bentley to the Patterson area of northern Caldwell County, where they burned the items.

Riggs later took investigators to the northern Caldwell site, where the knife, a burned cellphone and partially burned wallet were recovered, prosecutors said.

Bentley was sentenced to at least four years in prison after pleading guilty in 2013 to accessory after the fact of a murder.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak