Murder over rooster case in Mercer County heads to grand jury

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LASHMEET, WV (WVNS) — 3:30 p.m. May 27, 2020: A hearing was held on Wednesday afternoon for a man charged with murder. Richard Ellison is accused of killing Benny Foutch at his home in Lashmeet on May 17.

Magistrate William Holroyd found probable cause to send the case to the grand jury. Testimony from Detective Horn with Mercer County Sheriff’s Department revealed Ellison went to Foutch’s house to kill a rooster. Ellison allegedly killed Foutch during a confrontation over the rooster.

The grand jury is expected to convene in mid-July


ORIGINAL STORY: 8:15 p.m. May 18, 2020: On Sunday, May 17, 2020 EMT’s found a man dead outside his home with his eyes gouged out.

Deputies with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department told 59News Princeton Rescue Squad was called to a home on Reese Harmon Ridge Road for a mental health check. When they got there, they found 72-year-old Benny Foutch dead.

Detective Matthew Horn is one of the lead investigators on the case.

“The initial deputies got out there, secured the scene the quickly developed who was the suspect it was a close by neighbor,” said Horn.

Deputies arrested Richard Ellison and charged him with second degree murder. Horn said they learned Ellison went to the home to kill Foutch’s rooster.

“He said he saw it on a movie and it had been crowing,” said Horn. “So he went up there, killed the Rooster, and from what we can gather, maybe, that’s whenever the victim came out to confront him with what was going on outside.”

That is when detectives believe Ellison killed Foutch.

“Later in the interview process with the suspect, he made a hand gesture like putting his thumbs up to the eyes and saying that he killed him,” said Horn.

Horn said they learned Ellison then brought the dead rooster back to his house. Horn said Ellison revealed Lucifer told him to do it.

Horn explained Ellison was charged with second degree murder because it did not appear to be premeditated. He is now being held at Southern Regional Jail, with a $200,000 cash only bond.


LASHMEET, WV (WVNS) — A man is behind bars facing a murder charge after EMTs discovered a dead body.

According to detectives, Princeton Rescue Squad was called to a home on Reese Harmon Ridge Road in Lashmeet for an unrelated complaint on Sunday, May 17, 2020. When they got there, the found the body of the victim outside of his home. The victim was identified as 72-year-old Benny Foutch.

Deputies with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department arrested Richard Ellison. He is charged with 2nd Degree Murder. Deputies said Ellison went to the home to kill Foutch’s rooster. He then allegedly killed Foutch by gouging out his eyes. Investigators said he then took the rooster back to his house.

The investigation is ongoing by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigation Bureau.

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