Rostraver slaying suspect smiles, says he’d ‘do it again’
Billy Ray Boggs of Rostraver broke into a smile Monday morning when a district judge ordered him to stand trial on charges of killing a man, driving his body to Armstrong County and dumping it at a gas well site.
That smile didn’t leave his face as he turned around to face the family of Thomas Guercio, 35, of Jeannette and walked out of District Judge Charles Christner’s courtroom.
“Little (expletive),” one of Guercio’s family members said as deputies led Boggs, 49, from the Rostraver courtroom after a preliminary hearing.
Boggs allegedly beat Guercio on the head with a hammer and stabbed him in the chest, then wrapped his body in a tarp and dumped it at the gas well site in March, according to hearing testimony. Boggs told investigators that Guercio had struck his sister, Jamie Lynn Boggs, 36, in the head with a wrench. Guercio and Jamie Boggs were dating.
Outside the court office, Billy Ray Boggs told reporters he would “do it again if I have to.”
“He held a knife to my sister’s face,” Boggs said. “Bet he won’t do that again, will he?”
Guercio’s family members declined to comment after the hearing.
Guercio’s sister reported him missing on March 28, five days after she last heard from him, according to police. He had been living at Boggs’ Finley Road home with him and Jamie Boggs.
On March 30, investigators searched through tons of trash for six to seven hours to locate garbage bags that had been picked up at Boggs’ home that day, said Westmoreland County Detective Ray Dupilka. They found a white tank top, bed linens and a knit cap, all of which had “significant amounts of blood,” he testified.
Guercio’s family members identified the knit cap as one he often wore, investigators said.
However, nothing in the garbage bag directly identified it as coming from Boggs’ residence, Dupilka said on cross-examination.
The next day, the Finley Road home was searched. Investigators found a new couch, newly installed laminate flooring, a decorative pillow matching one found in the garbage search and blood droplets throughout the house on walls, curtains and the ceiling, Dupilka testified.
The house appeared to be in the middle of a complete remodel, he said.
“There were parts of the residence that were down to the structures, from exposed floor joists, exposed studding on the walls … a makeshift kitchen area,” Dupilka said.
On May 1, after Boggs had been arrested on a warrant for a state parole violation, he admitted to killing Guercio, police said.
“ ‘I did it,’ ” Boggs told investigators, Detective Robert Weaver testified. “ ‘I’ll tell you everything.’ ”
Boggs told police he attacked Guercio with a hammer after Guercio allegedly assaulted Jamie Boggs.
“(Boggs) told me he was aiming for his shoulder and hit him on his head,” Weaver testified.
Guercio was placed on a couch at the Finley Road home. Boggs knew the victim was still alive the next morning because he was “twitching,” he told investigators,. He drove his sister to Uniontown and when he returned, he struck Guercio in the head twice more with a hammer and stabbed him in the chest with a knife, according to Weaver.
He put Guercio’s body into his pickup truck, placed a couch on top and drove nearly 90 minutes to Valley Township in Armstrong County and dumped both at a gas well site, according to testimony.
Boggs took investigators to the site on May 1.
They found Guercio’s body wrapped in a blue and green tarp and covered with leaves, Dupilka said.
Boggs is charged with homicide and abuse of a corpse. He is being held in the Westmoreland County Prison without bond.
Staff writer Matt Faye contributed. Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or [email protected].