A West Virginia man has been charged with second-degree murder after admitting to killing his neighbor by gouging out his eyes following an argument over the neighbor's loud rooster, which he also admitted to killing.
The man's reason —as stated to a detective—was:
"Lucifer made me do it."
Forty-seven-year-old Richard Wayne Ellison—a resident of the small town of Rock in West Virginia's Mercer County—was enraged by the noise of his neighbor Benny Foutch's crowing rooster. So he burst onto the 72-year-old Foutch's property and the two men got into an argument.
But then, things took a sharp turn.
Emergency responders en route to another call in the area drove past Mr. Foutch's home and saw him lying dead and bleeding from the eyes on his front porch. Authorities were called to the disturbing scene, where they found Foutch dead surrounded by what appeared to be chicken feathers.
Pending an autopsy, Detective-Corporal M.S. Horn of the Mercer County Sheriff's Office said it appeared Mr. Foutch's death was entirely attributable to the eye-gouging.
As Horn told the local Bluefield Daily Telegraph:
"When looking at the victim, the gouging out of his eyes appeared to be his cause of death being no other serious injuries were observed with Detective-Sergeant (S.A.) Sommers checking his skull for any possible fractures, but he will be sent to the W.Va. State Police Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy."
No other injuries appeared to be present.
In questioning Ellison's son and girlfriend, an even more disturbing scene emerged.
"Ellison's girlfriend told investigators Richard had made some comments about the rooster belonging to Benny Foutch bothering him with the noises it made. She advised he went up there and that she heard some beating noise on the building area where the rooster was kept and then she heard some angry yelling."
"She had left because she was afraid of Richard Ellison and how he was acting. She later came back and advised that Richard Ellison admitted to her that he killed the rooster and that he killed him, pointing up to Benny's residence."
Ellison's son told investigators:
"Richard had brought the dead rooster back down to his property and he advised he disposed of it. He advised that Richard told him that he killed it and pointed up towards Benny's residence. He advised that he went up there to see if what Richard had said was true, he advised that he saw Benny (Foutch) on the porch."
911 was then called by Ellison's family, but it was recorded as a mental health evaluation instead of a murder so no one was dispatched immediately.
When Horn questioned Ellison himself, he received an even more bizarre account of the murder.
"I asked him what happened with him and Benny, he then made the hand motion of pressing his thumbs to his eyes. He advised he went up there to kill the rooster because of a movie he had watched and because it was crowing."
"He later explained that he pressed his thumbs into Benny's eyes, he advised that he stayed there until he knew Benny was dead."
"He made the statement that he killed him, referring to the incident with Benny. He made a reference that Lucifer made him do it."
"He kept asking me to shoot him, that he deserved it. He then talked about getting somebody in the jail to kill him..
On social media, people cracked jokes about the bizarre situation despite the death of a 72-year-old man.
However not everyone lost sight of the murder of 72-year-old Benny Foutch.
Ellison has been arraigned and is currently being held on $200,000 cash-only bond.