Retired Parkersburg detective testifies in Nutter murder trial

Photo by Brett Dunlap Wood County Assistant Prosecutor Blaire Hudson went over pieces of a AR rifle with Detective Doug Sturm in Wood County Circuit Court on Wednesday. The pieces of the rifle were found in the possession of William Allen Nutter who is accused of killing his brother Charles Ryan Cottle on May 10, 2020, at 1324 Broadway Ave.

PARKERSBURG — William Allen Nutter had a number of pieces of rifles in his possession when he was arrested following the shooting death of his brother, but the rifles were not the weapon used.

The testimony came Wednesday before Wood County Judge Jason Wharton on the third day of the trial.

Nutter, 41, originally of 861 Grattan St., Chickopee, Mass., is accused of killing his brother, Charles Ryan Cottle, 29, in May 2020 in Parkersburg.

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. Mae Cottle, the mother of both men, had a busted lip and blood on her after alleging Nutter struck her after “raging” through the house.

The state alleges Nutter intentionally murdered his brother as he was trying to stop his brother after hitting their mother. Nutter made the conscious decision to fire his Taurus 9 mm handgun 11 times where 10 shots hit Ryan Cottle The gun jammed and Nutter made the conscious decision to clear that jam and continue firing, the state alleges.

The defense says Nutter was defending himself from an attack by his brother with a Spudbar (referred to others as a crowbar), where he thought his life was in danger and had to use deadly force to protect himself.

Retired Parkersburg Police Detective Doug Sturm who worked the case when he was with the department testified Wednesday about doing a gunshot residue test on Nutter which was found. Previous testimony by Mae Cottle said she heard shots in the house and at one point saw Nutter firing a pistol into the kitchen.

Sturm testified about returning to the home the following day after a friend of Mae Cottle, who was cleaning up, found a bullet on the floor. Sturm also testified to finding a hole in the floor and retrieving another fired bullet from the hole on the floor where Ryan Cottle was found shot dead.

He also testified some of the spent shell casings were originally found near the body.

Sturm said they located Ryan Cottle’s cell phone and had a text exchange between Cottle and a girlfriend just before he was killed where she talked about issues at her home to which he responded things were bad at his house as well.

The detective talked about a number of gun parts, referred to “uppers” (one) and “lowers” (three) that can be assembled into working AR rifles, found in a backpack in the residence along with ammo and other items. A suitcase was also found in the home with firearm parts, a knife, bullet-proof vest plates, loaded cartridges of ammo, a flashlight, first-aid items and more.

Under cross examination by defense attorney Joe Munoz, Sturm said that none of the items in the bag or the suitcase led to the death of Ryan Cottle nor was Cottle’s blood found in either. However, one of the charges Nutter faces is being a person prohibited from being in possession of a firearm due to a previous conviction as well as domestic violence.

An empty box of for 9mm rounds was found with the suitcase. The rounds are the type used in the pistol used in Ryan Cottle’s death.

Also under cross examination, Sturm said the Spudbar was found a few feet from Ryan Cottle’s body when police were processing the scene. Also, photos taken of Nutter at the time of his arrest shown a bruise on his back and other abrasions on his body. Under redirect questioning from the prosecutors, Sturm said some of the abrasions could have been cause when Nutter was placed in handcuffs and he was not wearing a shirt at the time of his arrest.

Experts from the West Virginia State Police Lab testified about testing some of the firearms and other materials found at the house as well as blood and DNA samples. One sample of blood matched Mae Cottle where testimony said she was struck by Nutter. They found no signs of blood on the Spudbar. Other DNA found was not consistent with anyone involved. They could not find viable fingerprints on the pistol, but the officials from the lab said that is not uncommon.

Testimony will resume at 9:15 a.m. today.

Brett Dunlap can be reached at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com


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