Michael J. Stotts, 40, of Dittmer was killed Sept. 17 when a boy shot him with an arrow. An attorney representing the boy’s family said the boy shot Stotts because he was running at the boy in a threatening manner, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident, but as of today, the boy had not been arrested, the report said.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Grant Bissell would not release the boy’s age or hometown.
The Sheriff’s Office got a call at 4:12 p.m. Sept. 17 about an assault with a deadly weapon on property in the 100 block of Valley Springs Road southwest of Dittmer. Deputies arrived on the scene and located Stotts’s body, and medical personnel declared him dead, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Attorney John Peel of Flanagan & Peel PC in St. Louis, who is representing the boy’s family, told investigators the juvenile had permission to hunt on the land and was walking to a tree stand, carrying a bow and arrows, and allegedly saw Stotts trying to steal the property owner’s lawn tractor and wood splitter. The boy called his father, a 39-year-old Dittmer man, to come to the property, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
The family’s attorney said the father confronted Stotts, and during their encounter, Stotts allegedly ran toward the boy. The boy reportedly warned Stotts several times to stop and then shot an arrow as the charging man got closer to him, the report said.
The Sheriff’s Office said there had been several recent thefts on the Valley Springs Road property, and Stotts had encounters with law enforcement agencies in the past.
In December 2016, he pleaded guilty to producing or attempting to produce a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, a class B felony, stemming from a Sept. 2016 incident in Warren County. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison but was released and placed on five years’ probation after completing a treatment program, court records show.
In March 2019, Stotts was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to receiving stolen property, a class C felony, tied to an August 2016 incident in Jefferson County. The sentence was suspended, and he was placed on five years’ probation again, according to court documents.
In March, Stotts was charged with resisting arrest, a class A misdemeanor, connected to an encounter with De Soto Police, and two months later, he spent 10 days in the Jefferson County Jail after pleading guilty to first-degree trespassing, a class B misdemeanor, following a December 2018 incident in Jefferson County, court records said.