McLennan County DA drops manslaughter charges against suspected drug dealer who has served more than 600 days in jail

WACO, TX (KWTX) – The McLennan County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday dismissed homicide charges against a Coleman County man in a September 2021 incident that Waco police say started with a drug deal.

First Assistant District Attorney Sharon Pruitt requested that the murder charge be dismissed against Brendon Leosha Riggs, who is accused of shooting Caden Hitchcock at Hitchcock’s home in the 300 block of Wagon Circle.

In dismissing the case, Pruitt noted that the evidence against Riggs is insufficient at this time and that further investigation and DNA lab analysis is pending.

Riggs, 21, was jailed for 618 days and was scheduled for a Nov. 14 hearing. He has no other charges pending against him in McLennan County and should be released from jail as soon as his release is processed, officials said. At $80 a day, Riggs’ incarceration cost McLennan County $49,440.

The Riggs case is the fourth to dismiss charges by McLennan’s DA’s office against a murder or capital murder defendant in the past year. Meanwhile, five defendants accused of capital murder or manslaughter have pleaded guilty to reduced charges in plea deals offered by the DA’s office.

District Attorney Barry Johnson, who stepped down in January, said he hoped Riggs would be re-charged after a forensic examination of the hair samples. Johnson said he could have “kicked the can down the road,” passed on the case and left it to his successor. However, he said he didn’t think it would be fair and hoped the case could still be prosecuted.

Waco police initially arrested Riggs on a charge of capital murder. Two other men charged in the capital murders as Riggs’ co-defendants, Jose A. Herrera and Kyle Eric Depolito were declared invalid by a grand jury in January 2021.

Austin attorney John Evans, who represented Riggs with Waco attorney John Donahue, declined to comment on the dismissal Tuesday.

Hitchcock was shot once in the head in what police say was a drug-related incident.

According to arrest affidavits, Herrera and Depolito told police they went to Hitchcock’s residence to buy drugs. When they arrived, several guns were lying on his bed, the records said.

Hitchcock’s roommates reported seeing Depolito and two other men in Hitchcock’s room before the roommates went to bed at 3 a.m.

During a drug deal between Hitchcock and the three men, a 9 mm pistol went missing and Hitchcock accused them of taking it.

According to the information. The missing gun sparked a heated debate, the statement said.

When police responded to the residence, several handguns were missing and they found a spent 9 mm shell casing, the affidavit said.


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