Trial begins in Harrison County for man accused in child abuse death of 5-year-old boy

Crime

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The first of three trials is underway in Harrison County for a trio accused in the child abuse death of five-year-old boy Keaton Boggs.

Peter Wodzinski is the first one to stand trial, with Chasity Wodzinski scheduled to be tried beginning March 29 and Michelle Boggs set to be tried beginning April 19.

Peter Wodzinski

During opening statements on Monday, the prosecution stated that Keaton Boggs died in March of 2020, and that it would show the jury texts messages talking about hiding bruises and not taking him to see a doctor.

Peter Wodzinski is claiming that the bruises are from Keaton because he was a self harmer, the prosecution stated. He was taken to hospital with two black eyes and bruises all over his body, and an internal brain injury caused his death, which was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head.

The prosecution stated that the medical examiner ruled the incident as a homicide. The child lived with Peter Wodzinski for nine months, and the prosecution told the jury that the boy had a laceration from the tip of his penis to his scrotum, something Peter Wodzinski told law enforcement the child had done to himself.

During the incident that led to his death, Keaton was taken to United Hospital Center unconscious, before he was flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital, dying two days later, the prosecution stated. Keaton never regained consciousness.

Moreover, the prosecution told the jury that in nine months, four out of five doctors appointments for Keaton were canceled, presumably because the child was too bruised and beaten.

In the defense’s opening statement, it told jurors that it is the prosecution’s burden to convince them beyond a reasonable doubt and stated that Peter Wodzinski is innocent. The defense also pointed to there being three adults living in the home, and the prosecution would not be able to prove that it was Peter Wodzinski who was responsible.

Following these statements, the prosecution called its first witness, Dr. Stewart Godwin with UHC. Godwin testified that Keaton was brought to the hospital unresponsive and with slow breathing, and that he would not respond to voices or anything else to wake up.

Godwin said Keaton was put on a breathing machine and then sent for CT scan. He stated that the boy had bruises all over his body and face that were in different stages of healing. Godwin testified about the penis laceration that there was no way a child could do that to himself.

Further, Godwin testified that a radiologist called saying there was something wrong with Keaton’s brain, and the results showed a large amount of bleeding on his brain, but there was no skull fracture. Godwin said non-accidental trauma should be considered.

The prosecution showed a picture of Keaton’s brain, and Godwin explained the damage compared to a healthy child of the same age. The swelling caused the brain to shift inside the skull, the prosecution explained.

Godwin testified that he spoke with two women in the emergency room and asked them what had happened. They told him the boy was not feeling well in the morning, he took a nap and never woke up. The hospital then contacted Child Protective Services. It also called in Healthnet because specialists were needed to be involved in transporting Keaton to Ruby rather than regular EMTs.

On cross examination, the defense went back to the CT image and asked if it showed any other injuries to the body. Godwin testified that there was a blood clot in the lungs and stated that the brain injuries did not appear to be fresh or new, and the degree of swelling showed it had been several hours, possibly 12 or more.

To close, the prosecution asked Godwin if, in his opinion, the injuries were caused by child abuse, to which he replied yes. The prosecution then asked if he had seen any child abuse case like this, and Godwin said it was the worst case he has ever seen involving a child.

The trial will continue Tuesday.

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