Mercer man charged with murdering neighbor by gouging out his eyes

LASHMEET, W.Va. — A Mercer County man allegedly killed his neighbor by gouging his eyes out over a rooster.

Richard Ellison

Richard Ellison, 47, of Lashmeet, is in the Southern Regional Jail after the Sunday death of Benny Foutch, 72, also of Lashmeet.

Mercer County Sheriff’s Department Detective-Corporal M.S. Horn said Ellison told family members and investigators he was tired of hearing Foutch’s rooster so he walked up to his home Sunday afternoon on Reese Harmon Ridge Road.

“He went up there and killed the rooster first and then he killed the deceased. He gouged out his eyes,” Horn told MetroNews.

Deputies arrived on the scene Sunday evening. They found the body underneath a covered porch. Horn said it appeared the only serious injuries Foutch suffered were to his eyes.

“He had a prosthetic leg and he had cancer but he had injuries to his eyes. It looked like someone had gouged out his eyes. It was the only significant injuries we could observe,” Horn said.

Horn later interviewed Ellison.

“He motions using his thumbs like up toward the eyes saying he killed him and that’s how he did it,” Horn said.

At one point during the interview, Ellison told Horn that Lucifer made him do it.

Ellison allegedly waited until Foutch died and then walked back to his home with the dead rooster. Horn said police were not immediately dispatched because Ellison’s son reported there was a mental health issue with his father. Horn said he didn’t mention the body to dispatchers.

Horn said he believes from talking to Ellison he knew what he was doing.

“For him to know, ‘Hey, I need to wash my hands. Hey, I’m up here until I know he’s dead,’ that goes into a different category,” Horn said.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office will determine a cause of death.

Ellison is charged with second degree murder. A preliminary hearing will scheduled in Mercer County Magistrate Court.

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