One of the two Taberg brothers accused of shooting their third brother has decided to take his case forward toward a trial in County Court.
Matthew Westcott, 27, of Route 69, rejected a plea offer Friday morning of 18 years to life in state prison on a charge of second-degree murder. Westcott appeared before Judge Robert L. Bauer. He could face up to 25 years to life if he is found guilty at a trial.
Westcott is scheduled to reappear in court for motion argument on Dec. 22.
Law enforcement authorities said that on Sept. 17, at the family home on Route 69 in Annsville, Matthew used a shotgun to shoot and kill his brother James in a back bedroom. According to testimony at a prior court appearance, Matthew told the state police that his brother had threatened the family earlier in the day, and had threatened to burn down the home with everyone inside.
When he later saw James holding a can of gasoline, Matthew told state police that he got the weapon and shot his brother, police said.
Westcott is charged with one count each of second-degree murder and third-degree possession of a weapon.
Westcott’s brother Micheal Westcott is also charged in the incident.
Authorities said Micheal stabbed James several times in the back of the head with a large knife while he was on the ground, dying from the shotgun blast. In his statement to law enforcement investigators, Micheal said he was trying to end his brother’s suffering.
Micheal Westcott is scheduled to reappear in court on Dec. 16 to hear the results of a mental health evaluation.