Canton assault victim arrested by state police

  • By Kathie Warco July 8, 2014
Justin Brown

A Burgettstown man who was assaulted and kidnapped before being forced to run naked through a Canton Township field more than three years ago has been charged with trying to rob his attackers before they turned on him.

Justin Matthew Brown, 25, of 34 Francis Road, Burgettstown, was arraigned Monday before District Judge David Mark on charges of burglary, robbery and theft. Police obtained a warrant for his arrest in June 2013. He was declared a fugitive in February.

Brown is accused of going to the former home of John Mitchell Riggle, 23, at 500 W. Wylie Ave., to rob him and Richard Lassic II, 40, of Washington, of two pounds of marijuana on the same day as the assault.

Police were initially called March 12, 2011, to investigate a report of a robbery and kidnapping. Brown told police he had been forced to strip and run through a field near the intersection of South Hewitt Avenue and Smiley Road while two shots were fired at him.

Brown also told police on the day of the assault, that he had been robbed at the former Wylie Avenue School where Riggle had been living at the time.

During an interview three days after the assault, Brown initially told police the same story he had given on the day of the attack. But he later admitted to going to Riggle’s home earlier in the day to check it out before returning to steal the marijuana. Riggle and Lassic grabbed Brown when they drove up to the residence.

Both Riggle and Lassic were sentenced in 2011 after pleading guilty to their roles in the kidnapping and assault.

Brown was placed in Washington County jail on $250,000 bond. A preliminary hearing will be held July 30 before Mark.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.


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