A West Virginia man supposedly irked with his neighbor’s noisy rooster, allegedly killed the bird's owner and gouged out his eyes, authorities said.
Richard Wayne Ellison, 47, is accused of murdering Benny Foutch, 72, following a dispute regarding Foutch's rooster, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com.
“He kept hearing the rooster crowing. ... It bothered him,” Detective-Corporal M.S. Horn, with the Mercer County Sheriff's Department, told Oxygen.com. “He went up there and killed the rooster first and after doing so he then took his thumbs and jabbed them into [his neighbor's] eye sockets.”
Authorities arrived at the victim’s Mercer County residence on May 17 after receiving reports of a suspected murder. Foutch’s body was recovered from a porch on the property near a chicken coop, according to law enforcement.
Foutch was discovered on his back and bleeding from his eyes, however, he hadn’t sustained any other apparent injuries, apart from some minor scrapes, according to investigators. He was declared dead shortly after being found.
“The eye injuries were the most significant injuries he had,” Horn explained.
An autopsy is currently pending through the West Virginia State Medical Examiner's Office, according to the criminal complaint.
A “large number of feathers which appeared to be from a chicken,” were also discovered at the crime scene, the affidavit stated. Law enforcement suspected Ellison killed the rooster by strangling it. Foutch kept only the rooster and another chicken at his property, according to the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office.
After allegedly killing the rooster, Ellison took the dead bird with him. His son later disposed of the rooster's carcass, the complaint alleged.
Authorities later took Ellison into custody. When they asked what happened to Foutch, he allegedly said he "pressed his thumbs into Benny's eyes" until he was "dead."
Ellison apparently carried out the alleged killing after watching 1970s blockbuster thriller, "Deliverance," starring Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight. Ellison specifically referenced — and rambled about — a violent rape scene from the Oscar-nominated flick while in custody, according to court documents.
“He advised he went up there to kill the rooster because of a movie he had watched and because it was crowing,” the complaint stated.
Ellison's longtime girlfriend, whom detectives interviewed, also said the man had previously complained about “the noises” the Foutch's rooster made. She also said he confessed to killing Foutch and the man's rooster, according to authorities.
During questioning, Ellison allegedly begged investigators to “shoot him” and insisted he was demonically possessed.
“He made a reference that Lucifer made him do it,” the complaint also alleged.
Ellison could face a maximum of 40 years in prison if he's convicted on second-degree murder charges in the case, according to state laws. He’s currently in custody at a regional jail and is being held on a $200,000 bond, authorities said. Ellison is scheduled to appear in court on May 27.
Earl Hager, his court-appointed attorney, wasn’t immediately available for comment on Wednesday.
Authorities said Foutch was recently diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
“The guy had three months left to live and he was robbed of that,” Horn added.
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