A Wayne County man accused of murdering his parents pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning. The bond for Rodney R. Stutzman is set at $1 million
A Wayne County man accused of killing his parents pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning to charges that could bring the death penalty.
Common Pleas Judge Corey Spitler conducted the arraignment via video with Rodney R. Stutzman, who remains in jail. Bond is set at $1 million.
Stutzman, 31, of 17559 Harrison Road, faces two counts of aggravated murder and single counts of aggravated burglary, grand theft, theft and gross abuse of a corpse.
Each aggravated murder charge carries two specifications that, if proven, would make Stutzman eligible for the death penalty.
Other potential penalties include life in prison without parole, life in prison with parole eligibility after 30 years and life in prison with parole eligibility after 25 years.
The indictment alleges that Stutzman used a firearm to kill his parents on or around Jan. 9, then stole a 2006 Toyota Tundra pickup and credit cards.
The bodies of Mervin Stutzman, 68, and his 65-year-old wife, Viola, were discovered Jan. 13 in the basement of the farmhouse they shared with their son, about a mile west of the Stark County line.
Authorities have said the Stutzmans were shot with a shotgun, and that Mervin Stutzman’s head was removed from his body after his death.
West Virginia State Police apprehended Rodney Stutzman near Beckley, W.Va., several hours after the bodies were discovered.