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Hedgesville woman charged in son's death turns down plea deal

August 10, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A 19-year-old Hedgesville, W.Va., woman charged in the death of her infant son in August 2008 did not accept a plea offer in circuit court on Monday, setting the stage for her trial to begin on Aug. 18.

Monica W. Boggs of 8791 Hedgesville Road was indicted in February on counts of death of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian, child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury and gross child neglect creating substantial risk of bodily injury.

Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Jean Games-Neely told 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III on Monday that the state was willing to dismiss the gross child neglect charge in exchange for guilty pleas to the other two counts.

Both sides also would have still been allowed to argue sentencing under the terms of the plea offer, Games-Neely said.

Boggs' son, Skylar Trigg Boggs, died Aug. 19, 2008, as a result of blunt-force trauma, police have said. The West Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that the 7-month-old boy had a "deep" bruise around his left eye, according to court records.

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Police have said Boggs admitted throwing a bottle at the child Aug. 16 at their home, and subsequent attempts to revive the child were unsuccessful.

Silver said Monday that he would ask the Berkeley County Circuit Clerk's office to summon 55 people to court to possibly serve as jurors. Given media coverage of the child's death and the sensitive nature of the case, the judge decided to make the jury pool a bit larger.

After the hearing, Games-Neely said she expected the trial to last two to three days.

Silver on Monday denied defense attorney B. Craig Manford's motion to continue or delay the trial after significant discussion at the bench with the attorneys and the defendant.

Before the sidebar with the judge, Manford in open court said his client has a medical condition that was causing her some "distress" and that she would be better ready for trial after receiving treatment.

"We'd like not to go to trial, if we don't have to," Manford told the judge before the plea was offered and subsequently turned down.

"It's going to be a very emotional case for a jury," he said.

After Games-Neely told the judge that she and Manford did not have a chance to sit down and talk about the case, Silver agreed to allow the attorneys to talk about a possible plea offer.

Several minutes of discussions behind closed doors did not result in a plea deal.

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