20200207-hd-Stutler

Armel Kent Stutler appears Dec. 13, 2018, in Cabell County Magistrate Court at a preliminary hearing in a case charging him with murder.

HUNTINGTON — An Ona man charged in the shooting death of his mother’s boyfriend in Barboursville in 2018 has two weeks to decide if he will accept a plea offer from prosecutors.

Armel Kent Stutler, 66, is charged with one count of murder in the Oct. 28, 2018, shooting death of Philip Boggs, 70. Boggs was shot to death at his Barboursville home in the 5200 block of Heath Creek Road by Stutler, who believed Boggs to have been stealing money from Stutler’s mother, according to criminal complaints.

Defense attorney Abe Saad said at a hearing Wednesday that his client is currently weighing whether to take a potential plea deal. They will return to Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard’s courtroom with assistant prosecutor Joe Fincham on Feb. 19. If Stutler does not accept the plea deal at that time, a July 21 trial will be set.

The defendant has been out of jail on lockdown home confinement for about a year as he awaits the outcome of his case.

At his preliminary hearing in 2018, prosecutors said the killing was premeditated and the result of Stutler becoming outraged and believing the victim had been stealing money from his mother. After the shooting, police found banking records in Stutler’s vehicle showing the victim had been writing checks to himself from the woman’s banking account. Stutler had gone to the victim’s home without provocation, they said.

Saad said Stutler had known about the alleged fraud for more than a year and was attempting that day to take his mother to an appointment with an attorney to discuss her power of attorney. The woman, who has since been diagnosed with dementia, told police that Stutler had murdered Boggs and was the aggressor, but later changed her story, Saad said.

Stutler told police that when Boggs opened the door at the home where the shooting happened, Boggs told Stutler he had “no business being there” before he slapped Stutler and choked him while bending him over a banister of the front porch. That’s when Stutler pulled out a firearm and shot Boggs twice, Stutler said.

Stutler was taken to the West Virginia State Police Huntington detachment, where he was interviewed by troopers. Troopers said Stutler had said he murdered Boggs before later changing his statement to say it was done in self-defense, at which point he was charged with murder.

Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.

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