CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — The State of West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Monday affirmed the conviction of a Clarksburg man in the child abuse death of 5-year-old Keaton Boggs.
Keaton was pronounced dead on March 20, 2020, at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. Troopers said he was suffering from head trauma, which involved bleeding in his brain, and had several bruises and a laceration on his body.
When Peter was convicted of death of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian by knowingly allowing child abuse by another person on March 3, 2021, jurors only deliberated for a little over half an hour.
The jury had the option to find Peter guilty of death of a child by parent, guardian, or custodian by inflicting child abuse; guilty of the death of a child by parent, guardian, or custodian by knowingly allowing child abuse by another person; or not guilty, court documents show.
According to those documents, Peter filed a motion for a judgment of acquittal after the trial, which was denied. Now, Peter has appealed, arguing that the prosecution presented insufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Peter’s trial included testimony from the boy’s doctor, an emergency room doctor who treated the boy, and a West Virginia State Trooper who helped investigate the suspected child abuse and called it the worst case he has ever seen in terms of the number of injuries on a child. It also included pictures of Keaton’s injuries and a series of text messages between Peter and Chasity about Keaton’s injuries, according to court documents.
The Court of Appeals said that while the state did not provide sufficient evidence as to who caused the 5-year-old’s fatal injuries, the texts proved that Peter was aware of Keaton’s many injuries and was alone with him for hours before the child’s injuries were discovered at the hospital.
The Court of Appeals also ruled that the use of the photos during Peter’s trial, which were admitted into evidence with no objections at the time, was probative evidence of the abuse sustained by the victim that led to his death, and that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in allowing their use. Peter’s appeal argued that the photos presented the risk of “unfair prejudice.” The court of appeals also found that no other errors were made in his trial.
He’s currently serving a sentence of 15 years to life in the Huttonsville Correctional Center.
Peter, Chastity and Michelle were all tried separately.
Michelle was found guilty of death of a child by a parent, guardian, custodian or other person by child abuse on April 21, 2021.
Chastity was found guilty of knowingly allowing child abuse that resulted in death back on March 24, 2022.