Prosecutors are no longer seeking the death penalty against an Idaho man charged with murder in Boise County, and the case may soon be resolved.
Benjamin Poirier, an Emmett resident, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder as part of a plea deal, according to court records. In return for his plea, Boise County prosecutors will withdraw their intent to seek the death penalty.
On March 15, 2020, Poirier was arrested after he allegedly walked into a Horseshoe Bend trailer park and began shooting at a trailer, hitting and killing an 11-year-old boy inside. Police say Poirier was heard yelling about the end of the world before opening fire. He later tried to drive away before hitting the trailer, and he was arrested by a Boise County sheriff’s deputy who was nearby.
Boise County prosecutors filed their intent to seek capital punishment on May 20, 2020, arguing that the killing was “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity.”
Poirier’s case was put on hold from May to August 2020 due to a competency evaluation, where officials examined whether he was fit to stand trial. The court ultimately ruled he was competent.
The case moved slowly through the court system until Friday, where Poirier signed off on the plea agreement during a status conference hearing.
According to the plea agreement, prosecutors will push for a sentence of life in prison without parole. Poirier’s defense counsel will ask for a sentence of 25 years in prison and then eligibility for parole. However, the length of his prison sentence will be determined by a judge.
Poirier also has the ability to withdraw his guilty plea, but if that would happen, prosecutors could refile their intent to seek the death penalty against him in the case.
Poirier’s next court appearance will be for his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for Jan. 28, 2022, in a Boise County courtroom. Poirier is being held at the Ada County Jail without bail.