A state appellate court has sent a case of homicide involving Billy Ray Boggs, Jr. of Rostraver back to the Westmoreland County Court for a new appeal.
The Tribune-Review reports that the appellate court ruled that Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway should have allowed Boggs to represent himself in June of 2017 when he appealed his conviction of first-degree murder in the death of Thomas Guerico. Police said that Boggs beat Guerico in the head with a hammer and a day later, dumped the body down a hillside near Kittanning.
Last year, Boggs filed an appeal saying he was coerced by his former defense attorney to plead guilty. He wanted to withdraw his plea and take his case to a jury trial, but after Boggs was appointed an attorney, he said in January of 2017 that he would act as his own attorney.
The appeal will go back to Hathaway’s court for reconsideration.