Three family members charged with murdering an orphaned boy, less than a year after his father fatally overdosed, will head to trial early next year. The proceedings had been set for next week, but were pushed back after prosecutors turned over thousands of pages of evidence and discovery in the case. Keaton Boggs, 5, died earlier this year after months of abuse that had been on clear display, including at his birthday party where he arrived covered in bruises.
Keaton had already suffered irreversible brain damage from bleeding on the brain when he arrived at a West Virginia Hospital back in March, according to the criminal complaint. The staff quickly alerted police once they began to examine the boy and noticed what appeared to be signs of prolonged physical abuse. His own family seemed nonplussed, however, and chose to drive the boy to the hospital themselves rather than call emergency personnel.
Grandmother Michelle Boggs, 49, Peter Wodzinski, 32, and his wife Chasity Wodzinski, 29, are awaiting trial and facing 15 years to life if found guilty of murder. Hospital workers became increasingly suspicious of the three while speaking with them about Keaton's injuries. Court documents note that their stories failed to match up or explain the reasons for many of the cuts and bruises on the young boy's body.
Chasity Wodzinski and Michelle Boggs are the boy’s biological aunt and grandmother, respectively, while Peter Wodzinski is his uncle by marriage. His mother lost custody after being arrested for selling less than $160 worth of methamphetamine. She has now been sober for close to two years. His father, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, died of a drug overdose shortly after returning from the Middle East.
Harrison County assistant prosecutor Gina Snuffer recounted the grim details of Keaton's condition along with the harrowing final moments of his life in court earlier this year. She shared the discovery after Michelle petitioned the court to be released from prison on account of the coronavirus pandemic. That request was ultimately denied by the court.
Keaton arrived at the hospital covered with both old and new injuries. He had been found unconscious by his aunt and grandmother hours before, Snuffer said in court. Instead of calling an ambulance for the boy, the two decided they would drive him to the hospital. Keaton had to be intubated and resuscitated immediately and was then airlifted to another hospital. Once there, doctors quickly realized the boy had a "catastrophic brain injury" that would have left him with brain damage even if he had managed to survive his injuries. They found bleeding on the brain, bruising to his entire face and collarbone, and cuts all over his body.
There was also the 4cm laceration on his genitalia and damage to his testicles. Snuffer told the court that the injuries came from his grandmother. "She told him she would cut it off if he didn't stop playing with it," Snuffer told the judge.
At the hearing to delay earlier this month, the defendants all confirmed their plans to enter pleas of not guilty. It was also revealed that Peter might seek a trial separate from the women. WV News also reports that Assistant Prosecutor Snuffer noted during the hearing that additional transcripts are coming from a “companion civil proceeding.”