Campaigners call for Riggi to face death penalty


JUSTICE campaigners in the US say Theresa Riggi should face the death penalty for killing her three young children.

Riggi, 47, will be sentenced next month after admitting stabbing eight-year-old twins Austin and Luke and their five-year-old sister Cecelia at a rented flat in Edinburgh’s Slateford Road last year.

Californian Riggi pled guilty to culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility at the High Court in Edinburgh earlier this month.

On completion of her sentence, a court has ruled that she be sent back to the US, where the most serious crimes are dealt with by way of a lethal injection.

Supporters of the death penalty say Riggi should face the same possible punishment as all Californian citizens who are convicted of multiple murders.

Dianne Clements, president of the victims’ rights group Justice For All, said: “If she had killed her children in California it’s almost certain she’d have been sent to Death Row.

“I don’t see why she should escape that punishment on her return here.”

Kent Scheidegger, legal director for the California-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, said: “If an American citizen commits a crime against another American citizen they should be subject to American law on their return to the country, even if the crime was committed outside our borders.

“For a crime of this magnitude, I believe the death penalty would be appropriate.”

Riggi and her oil-worker husband Pasquale had been locked in a legal battle over custody of their children.

Mr Riggi, 46, had a phone conversation with his wife two days before the children were found dead, and she asked is he was going to take them away from her.

He reportedly replied that she had “left him no choice”, to which Riggi responded “say goodbye then”, before hanging up.

The bodies of Luke, Austin and Cecelia were found carefully laid out on the floor of the Edinburgh flat, and all three had defensive wounds on their hands.

Riggi also stabbed herself in the chest before jumping from the balcony.

Michael Paranzino, co-founder of US campaign group Throw Away the Key, said: “A child killer should face a jury permitted to impose the death penalty if that’s what they decide is appropriate.”

EU law prevents suspects from deported if it could result in their death.

Riggi will be sentenced on 26 April, following psychiatric reports.