Trial arrives for man charged in Mountain Home slaying of elderly woman

Scott Riggs.
Scott Riggs.

About a year-and-a-half ago, Paula Knudson Ferbache was found stuffed in the trunk of her car, her body covered in stab wounds. On Tuesday, jury selection began in the trial set for the man accused of killing her.

Scott Riggs, 41, is charged with first-degree murder in the August 2017 death of the 71-year-old Ferbache. His trial is scheduled to last four to six weeks in Elmore County.

District Judge Nancy Baskin will preside, and she spent Tuesday questioning potential jurors, along with attorneys.

Ferbache was Riggs’ landlady and they both worked at the Mountain Home Walmart, according to previous court testimony. The motive for the killing remains unclear, but it was brutal. Authorities said Ferbache was found dead with wounds to her abdomen, chest, neck and hand that punctured her lung, cut her airway, and sliced through her carotid artery and jugular vein.

Ferbache’s husband reported her missing on Aug. 25, 2017, when she did not return home, according to previous reporting. She was found the next day in her vehicle, which had been abandoned several miles outside Mountain Home, near Southeast Hamilton Road, off of Old U.S. 30.

A knife was also found in the area, and prosecutors previously said that Riggs purchased two knives in March 2017 at a pawn shop in Mountain Home.

If convicted, Riggs will receive up to life in prison.

Court records show that in October 2017, after Paula Ferbache was killed, John Ferbache evicted Riggs from a property he owned in Elmore County.

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Reporter Ruth Brown covers the criminal justice and correctional systems in Idaho. She focuses on breaking news, public safety and social justice. Prior to coming to the Idaho Statesman, she was a reporter at the Idaho Press-Tribune, the Bakersfield Californian and the Idaho Falls Post Register.