An Idaho man pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree murder and robbery in the killing of a man that was sparked by road rage in 2016.
Justin R. Booth now can be sentenced to life in prison for the killing of William “Bo” Kirk, an X-ray technician once described by his son as “the ultimate family man.”
The other defendant in the case, David E. Hutto, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison last year.
Booth, who is in his late 30s, was scheduled to go to trial this week in Kootenai County Superior Court. As part of a plea deal, charges of arson, kidnapping and unlawful possession of a firearm were dropped.
The case was handed over by federal prosecutors, who had charged Booth for the firearm violation but did not have jurisdiction to charge him for the murder, said Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh.
“In this case, obviously the more serious charges arose in state jurisdiction,” McHugh said.
In Hutto’s trial, prosecutors and witnesses laid out this sequence of events:
On the evening of Oct. 22, 2016, Kirk was driving home from his job at Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls. He apparently flashed his bright headlights at the truck in front of him, enraging the two men inside: Booth and Hutto.
The pair, who were roommates at the time, followed Kirk to his home in Coeur d’Alene, kidnapped him at gunpoint in his driveway, stole his truck and shot him to death several miles away, on the side of a road near the Hayden Creek Shooting Range.
Booth and Hutto then returned to Coeur d’Alene and used Kirk’s debit card to withdraw $900 from an ATM. They were caught on multiple security cameras driving Booth’s truck and the truck they stole from Kirk.
One video showed Hutto wearing a black ski cap, black gloves and a black handkerchief over his face. A gas station camera caught Booth filling a 5-gallon can that was used to douse Kirk’s truck in gasoline.
The truck was found engulfed in flames in the 23000 block of North Rimrock Road the night Kirk was killed. That’s not far from where his body was found three days later, on Oct. 25, 2016.
Booth had prior convictions for robbery, burglary and other felonies, and was on parole at the time of the murder. He was later arrested for being in possession of a Taurus .38-caliber revolver – the same gun used to kill Kirk, according to court records.
During Monday’s court hearing, Booth sat quietly beside his lawyer in a red jail outfit. He gave calm, brief answers as the judge asked a series of questions to confirm he wanted to accept the plea deal.
Afterward, friends and relatives of Kirk expressed relief that they would not have to endure another trial.
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