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Documents: Brown County murder suspect preparing for death penalty

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BROWNWOOD, Texas - Newly released court documents show the attorney for a Brown County murder suspect is preparing for the state to pursue the death penalty.

Ryan Riggs's attorney filed five different pre-trial motions on Monday with the 35th Judicial District Clerk's Office, including asking that a jury decide the 21-year-old's sentence.

Police arrested Riggs Nov. 15 and he was later indicted for capital murder for murdering and raping 25-year-old Chantay Blankinship. He's being held without bond.

The murder suspect is being represented by the Lubbock-based nonprofit Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases. His public defender, John E. Wright, says in two of his motion that "the State is seeking the death penalty."

In another motion, Wright wrote "the State has not waived its intent to seek the death penalty."

But 35th Judicial District Attorney Michael Murray told KTXS his office won't decide on whether to pursue the death penalty until his "investigation is complete."

He also said Tuesday he hasn't seen Wright's motions and his office hasn't been in communication with the public defender.

The Regional Public Defender of Capital Cases told KTXS their policy is not to comment on pending cases.

Ricky McGinn was the last person in Brown County placed on death row, according to Murray. McGinn was convicted in 1993 for raping and killing his 12-year-old stepdaughter.

Riggs' lawyer is also asking the District Court for $500 to cover the costs of copying documents and media files during discovery, according to court documents.

Wright is also requesting another $500 to purchase civilian clothes for Riggs that he can wear during his pre-trial hearings and trial. His lawyer stated appearing in a jump suit violates Riggs' "right to a fair and impartial jury trial," according to documents.

A Brown County Grand Jury indicted Riggs nearly two weeks ago on capital murder for Blankinship's death.

Sheriff Vance Hill said Riggs confessed on Nov. 15 to sexually assaulting and killing Blankinship in May of 2016.

Riggs is scheduled to appear in State District Court on Dec. 11 to have his capital murder charge read to him.

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