Greenbackville man convicted of neglect of a child in explosion

October 2, 2020
Accomack County Courthouse

By Linda Cicoira


A Greenbackville man had been smoking cocaine for three days in August of 2019 while he and his young son were living in a shed behind someone else’s home. The man fell asleep after huffing propane, according to testimony in Accomack Circuit Court Thursday.

When 30-year-old Brian Keith Boyce Jr. woke up, “he smelled something funny,” but he didn’t know what it was, Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan told the court. Morgan said Boyce then lit a cigarette and caused an explosion and fire that left he and his son severely burned.

They were eventually airlifted to The Johns Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore. Cocaine or a cocaine derivative were found in both their systems. Morgan said the boy had “significant burns on his back” and believes he will have “disfigurement.”

Boyce was charged with abuse and neglect of a child under the age of 18 in connection with the incident. A grand jury indicted him on the charge last February. Boyce pleaded guilty Thursday. Judge W. Revell Lewis III ordered a pre-sentence report and set sentencing for Jan. 7, 2021.

Boyce could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and fined up to $2,500. Defense lawyer Garrett Dunham said his client made “horrible choices and it was a horrible accident … he will continue to have a good relationship with the child. Substance abuse is a big issue.” Dunham asked that Boyce be screened for a drug program. The incident was “obviously a horrifying thing for a father and a family,” he added.

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