Prosecutor to seek death penalty for Idaho man accused of killing Boise County child

Posted at 10:18 AM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 12:18:41-04

This article was originally published by Ruth Brown of the Idaho Statesman.

Boise County Prosecutor Adam Strong filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against the Idaho man accused of fatally shooting an 11-year-old boy in March.

Authorities allege that Benjamin Poirier, 44, of Emmett, killed the boy in Horseshoe Bend on March 15. Poirier, who is charged with first-degree murder, did not know the child, according to police.

Poirier is accused of walking into the trailer park where the boy lived and was heard yelling about the end of the world, police say. He allegedly started shooting through the trailer and a bullet struck the child.

On May 20, the notice of intent to pursue the death penalty was filed with the court. In capital cases, prosecutors are required to file their notice of intent, listing aggravating circumstances in a murder case that they believe makes the crime punishable by death.

A copy of the notice says that Poirier “knowingly created a great risk of death to many persons”; that the killing was “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity” that the defendant “exhibited an utter disregard for human life”; and that the defendant’s conduct “before, during or after the commission of the murder at hand, has exhibited a propensity to commit murder which will probably constitute a continuing threat to society.”

After the shooting, Poirier drove his car into a propane tank and hit the trailer, Idaho State Police said at the time. The collision did not start a fire. A Boise County sheriff’s deputy arrived and detained the suspect with the help of some people in the area, police said.

Poirier was the subject of a competency evaluation, which is used to determine whether a defendant is able to move forward with trial. Strong told the Statesman on Monday that hearings scheduled for June 30 and July 13 will discuss Poirier’s competency and his evaluation.

Competency evaluations are sealed and not public record, but when a decision about Poirier’s competency is reached, the order will be made public.

Poirier is being held without bail in jail.