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Brother-In-Law Guilty of Murdering Gulf Soldier

December 2, 1991

DETROIT (AP) _ A 20-year-old man was found guilty today of first-degree murder in the ambush-slaying of his brother-in-law who had returned from service in the Persian Gulf War 10 days earlier.

A jury deliberated for two hours today before finding Michael Cato guilty of murder and use of a firearm in a felony, said a clerk for Detroit Recorder’s Court Judge Gershwin Drain.

Under Michigan law, Cato faces mandatory life in prison without parole when he is sentenced Dec. 16.

Army Spec. Anthony Riggs, 22, was shot on March 18 outside the house of his wife’s aunt. Riggs, stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, was in Detroit to help his wife, Toni Cato Riggs, move to a new apartment.

She had asked him for a divorce when they met on the tarmac as he arrived home from the war.

The killing drew international attention when it appeared that random street violence had claimed the life of the Patriot missile crewman.

But police accused Michael Cato and Toni Cato Riggs of plotting the slaying to collect life insurance benefits. Charges against Toni Cato Riggs were dismissed after a judge ruled that her brother’s confession couldn’t be used against her. Prosecutors are appealing that ruling.

Cato’s attorney, James O’Connell said he was disappointed by the verdict.

″Definitely there will be an appeal on it,″ he said.

O’Connell said the judge should not have allowed some hearsay testimony and admission of a letter from Riggs to his mother.

He said Toni Cato Riggs figured prominently into Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s strategy.

″They tried her and convicted him,″ O’Connell said.

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