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‘Killer plucked elderly neighbor’s eyeballs out after row over crowing cockerel’



Richard Ellison, pictured, reportedly gouged neighbor Benny Foutch’s eyes out during a row over a crowing cockerel (Picture: Mercer County Sheriff’s Office)

A killer gouged his elderly neighbor’s eyeballs out with his thumbs during a row over the victim’s crowing cockerel, detectives say. Richard Ellison, 47, is said to have dismembered Benny Foutch, 72, and the rooster which started the row in Rock, West Virginia on Sunday.

Deputies from Mercer County Sheriff’s Office who were called to the scene discovered Fouch dead on his porch with ‘blood coming from his orbital sockets.’ They also spotted feathers at the scene, with Ellison said to have killed the bird and disposed of its corpse after complaining to Foutch over the noise it made.

Notes taken by Detective-Corporal MS Horn, who interviewed Ellison, said: ‘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.’

Detective-Corporal Horn added that the eye-gouging appeared to have killed Foutch, saying: ‘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 (SA) 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.’

Arrest papers seen by the Bluefield Daily Telegraph said that Ellison had returned to his house after killing Foutch to tell his girlfriend and son what he had done. He is said to have shown his son the victim’s corpse, prompting a 911 call. Ellison is further said to have brought the cockerel’s body back to his house afterwards to dispose of it. Investigators noted feathers blowing around Foutch’s home, but could not find any trace of the bird involved.

Ellison has been charged with second-degree murder, and is being held in Mercer County Jail in lieu of $200,000 cash-only bond.

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