In a marked contrast to his earlier court appearance, Scott Matthew Boger, 30, calmly entered a guilty plea to the charge of malicious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer.
At his preliminary hearing in General District Court in October, Boger screamed at the officer testifying against him until the judge removed Boger from the courtroom.
Fifteen police cruisers and a helicopter joined the hunt for Boger on July 30, 2002 after he attacked veteran Prince William County Police Officer James Shelton, 47. Shelton had responded to an accident on Moore Drive in Manassas, where he was approached by neighbors with complaints about a man driving an all-terrain vehicle. Shortly thereafter the ATV approached Shelton, with Boger and his nephew riding it.
Shelton motioned for Boger to stop the vehicle. When he stepped up to speak to Boger, Boger cut the handlebars, put the ATV in reverse, and floored the accelerator. The front tires of the vehicle rolled over Shelton’s feet, knocking him down and entangling him in the steering column. Shelton was dragged 15 to 20 feet before the ATV flipped.
It was at this point that Shelton told Boger he was under arrest, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney James A. Willett told the court Wednesday. Boger approached and struck Shelton in the face so hard that the officer fell to his knees.
“He hit me with a driving force, downward,” Shelton said after Wednesday’s hearing, adding it was the hardest blow he’s taken in his 26 years as an officer. “He tossed me like a wet rag.”
Shelton emptied about half a can of pepper spray in Boger’s face to no effect, as the 6-foot-4-inch, 300-pound man continued to beat Shelton in the face and around the head.
“It just makes you mad — you talk to the guy 10 seconds and he tries to kill you,” Shelton said.
Eventually, Shelton told Boger that he couldn’t fight anymore and would have to shoot him. Several Northern Virginia Electric Company employees came to Shelton’s assistance as he lost consciousness. Boger drove off in a white pickup truck. Shelton was treated for bruises, abrasions, and crush trauma to his right leg.
Boger, of 10535 Pineview Road, Manassas, was originally charged with attempted capital murder, escape by force and two counts of assault on an officer as well as the malicious bodily injury charge. Those additional charges were dropped Wednesday.
Shelton said Wednesday he was not dissatisfied the additional charges were dropped, explaining he didn’t think Boger intentionally tried to run over him.
“I think he was more or less trying to push me away to get away,” Shelton said. “The court will take care of this the way they always do. I think the judges here do a good job.”
Shelton is back on duty with the accident investigations unit. A doctor’s letter provided in court says he will have permanent numbness and soreness in the leg that was crushed.
Boger will be sentenced July 25. Shelton said that while he has no hard feelings towards Boger’s family, he’s concerned about Boger’s release. Shelton noted that Boger has a previous record, and has caused trouble in the Prince William Adult Detention Center, where he has been housed since August.
Boger has previously been convicted of assault and violating a protective order in Prince William County. He also was sentenced to three years in California for robbery, according to Circuit Court records.
“I’ve got so many young officers out there, it’s just part of looking after other officers,” Shelton said of Boger’s impending incarceration.
Boger faces five to 30 years in prison.
Staff writer Maria Hegstad can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 121.