Nutter claims self-defense in murder trial testimony

Parkersburg man shot, killed brother in 2020

Wood County Prosecutor Pat Lefebure showed a copy of a statement to William Allen Nutter on Thursday during Nutter’s trial for murder in the death of his brother, Charles Ryan Cottle, in May 2020. Nutter made the statement to police after his initial arrest and said he was attacked and forced to defend himself. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

PARKERSBURG — William Allen Nutter said he was attacked and forced to defend himself which led to him shooting his brother, Charles Ryan Cottle, in May 2020.

Nutter, 41, took the stand Thursday in his own defense at his trial in Wood County Circuit Court before Judge Jason Wharton.

He is accused of killing his brother on May 10, 2020. Parkersburg Police responded to 1324 Broadway Ave. for a report of shots fired. Cottle was shot multiple times in the torso and hip and was found against the back door of the family home, police reported.

When asked if he remembered the events of that day, Nutter replied “I do. I can never forget.”

He was up late the night before and was making spaghetti sauce for his mother, Mae Cottle, for Mother’s Day the next day as a surprise. He took medication for chronic otalgia resulting from a dog bite a year prior. He didn’t go to sleep in a recliner he used until 3-4 a.m.

Defense attorney Joe Munoz sat with William Allen Nutter during Nutter’s trial for murder in the death of his brother, Charles Ryan Cottle, 29, on May 10, 2020. Nutter said he acted in self-defense after being attacked by his brother. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

He was awakened the next day to the sound of a screen door slamming by his mother. Nutter said he wasn’t upset at the time and continued to lay in the chair. However, it eventually led to an argument with his mother about money he was supposedly getting from a settlement regarding the dog bite.

Nutter said he didn’t have the money which led to accusations he was lying about the money and that it was his fault that she was no longer in a relationship which Nutter said he denied.

“It frustrated me and made me feel bad,” he said, adding he felt the money was the only thing she cared about. “I was hurt.

“I yelled back up ‘You are going to get the (f-) what you deserve when I get that money. If that is all I am worth to you, you aren’t going to get one nickel. Nothing.'”

Nutter said she responded, “I’ll either have you dead or I’ll have you in jail and your money, I’m going to spend it.”

He said he stayed in the recliner covered in a blanket and didn’t go upstairs. He heard them eventually coming down the steps slowly.

“It alarmed me,” Nutter said. “It didn’t feel right.”

He heard them approach him. He pulled the blanket away from his face and saw Ryan with the prybar ready to hit him. Nutter said he tried to get away when he was struck in the center of his back. He said his mother was standing there with a knife. He said he felt he had to get away.

He said he pushed his mother, but did not immediately know if he hurt her. He ran into the kitchen and said he believed his brother had the prybar and a gun.

“I knew my life was in danger,” Nutter testified.

The two struggled for the gun which Nutter got. He said his brother lunged towards him and he started firing. When he regained his senses, he saw his brother against the kitchen door and thought he was not breathing. Nutter thought needed to get help and called 911.

Nutter said it was a chaotic scene.

“My mind is like a scrambled egg,” Nutter said.

Mae Cottle had previously testified Nutter was raging about the house, running up and down the stairs, kicking Ryan Cottle’s door open multiple times and yelling at her. This eventually led to Nutter hitting her and knocking her into a door frame which led to a busted lip and bleeding, she said. In response, Ryan Cottle grabbed a Spudbar (referred by some as a crowbar) and got into an altercation with Nutter which went downstairs. Mae Cottle testified hearing three shots. As she ran downstairs she said she saw Nutter shooting a pistol in the kitchen multiple times. The handgun was identified as his Taurus 9mm. The gun was fired 11 times with 10 shots hitting Ryan Cottle.

Testimony given Thursday said those shots were what killed him.

Other testimony was given on the topic of the pistol “stovepiping” where it jammed and a live round had to be ejected in order to keep firing the gun.

A former girlfriend of Nutter, Michelle Lane, testified Thursday she had bought guns and gun pieces for Nutter over the course of their 5 1/2-year relationship. She knew he had a 9mm handgun like the one used in the killing but she could not say for certain it was the one that belonged to Nutter.

Nutter said the gun was his brother’s and that he had given him the money to purchase it and gave him ammo he had to use in it.

“I love my mom and brother, no matter what they did,” Nutter said, adding he had no malice towards his brother and never planned to kill him.

On cross examination by Wood County Prosecutor Pat Lefebure, Nutter said he didn’t know how many times he shot and doesn’t recall the gun jamming. Lefebure pointed out in a police statement given by Nutter after his arrest he saw an icepick and sledgehammer as well.

Previous testimony indicated Nutter had medical supplies in his belongings. Lefebure asked why he didn’t use that to tend to Ryan Cottle to which Nutter said. it was chaotic and he was overcome with fear, uncertain what to do, but he called 911 for help.

Lefebure showed pictures of the room where the altercation supposedly took place and nothing seemed disturbed, despite Nutter claiming a struggle took place.

Photos were shown of Nutter’s legs and back where he had scrapes and cuts which Nutter said could have happened as a result of the struggle, but Lefebure showed his statement to police saying they were a result of being taken into custody.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin today at 9 a.m.

Brett Dunlap can be reached at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com


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