PEARISBURG — Brandon Cody Boggs is ready to leave a state mental health facility and return to his family in Giles County, his attorney argued last week.
But with recommendations for treatment after his release – but no formal plan for that treatment – Boggs should stay in the state’s custody awhile longer, a prosecutor replied.
Six months after shooting his wife in the back and two months after being found not guilty by reason of insanity, the mental health of a decorated military veteran who kept an arsenal of 51 firearms in his home remains the center of an ongoing case. On Wednesday, Giles Circuit Court Judge Lee Harrell ordered that Boggs, 41, stay in the state’s care for at least 45 days more, scheduling a June 21 hearing to next review matters.
Harrell said he would be willing to revisit the case sooner, and possibly release Boggs, if state psychologists return a plan for his care before 45 days are up.
Boggs’ case began Oct. 28, when emergency dispatchers got a late morning call about a shooting at his and his wife’s home in the 2100 block of Guinea Mountain Road, between Pearisburg and Eggleston. An officer encountered Amy Boggs, who said that her husband shot her and that she had fled, a search warrant said.
Brandon Boggs, who had also left the house, was arrested later that day and charged with malicious wounding and using a firearm to commit a felony. Officers took 51 guns, including shotguns, rifles and pistols, from the home, a search warrant said.
On March 15, with psychologists’ evaluations filed with the court, Harrell accepted Boggs’ pleas of not guilty by reason of insanity to both charges. Boggs was placed in the custody of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
On Wednesday, Boggs appeared for his hearing via a video link from Central State Hospital in Petersburg. His wrists were cuffed as he stood to ask for release.
“I’m not a danger. I never have been,” Boggs said.
Boggs said that he had served his country with distinction for 23 years, including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, and worked as an engineer for the state. He said that he and his wife are best friends and that he needed to return home to work on putting his life back together for his family.
Defense attorney Jimmy Turk of Radford said after the hearing that Boggs had served in the U.S. Army Reserves and earned a number of decorations, including a Bronze Star for an undercover mission in Afghanistan.
Before Boggs testified, Harrell, Turk and Commonwealth’s Attorney Bobby Lilly already had agreed that two evaluations conducted since the not guilty by reason of insanity verdict had found that Boggs’ mental status was much improved and he was ready for an outpatient care regimen. The evaluations requested more time to produce a formal treatment plan, Lilly noted.
Amy Boggs testified Thursday that she does not fear her husband and hopes to soon be reunited with him.
However, Amy Boggs said, she moved out of the couple’s home as advised in recommendations in the most recent psychological reports. She said that when Boggs is released, his mother will move into the Guinea Mountain Road house to help care for him until doctors say the time is right for her to return.
Turk and the Boggses pointed to recommendations in the recent psychological evaluations that Brandon Boggs receive care at the Veterans Administration facilities in Salem. The Boggses said that both outpatient care and a seven-week, inpatient program for people with PTSD were lined up for as soon as Boggs is available to begin them.
Boggs said he also needed to be out of custody so that he could wrap up pending matters with his military retirement. He said that he worried that if he did not get certain physical exams done soon, he would lose benefits including his family’s future health insurance.
Harrell said that he thought it was reasonable to let the behavioral health department have the time to work up a formal care plan. If the plan comes in early, the judge said, the attorneys should contact him.