Tuesday, May 21, 2013
LAKEPORT, Calif. — A former Augusta, Maine, man probably will spend the rest of his life in prison after a jury here on Thursday found him guilty of the first-degree murder of a Maine couple because of a drug dispute.
In happier times: Frank Maddox and Yvette Colon Maddox, both originally from Augusta, were found dead in March in California.
The jury deliberated more than five hours before finding Robby Beasley guilty on all counts, including two murder charges. The verdict was announced just after 5 p.m. Eastern time.
Beasley, 32, also was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm and special allegations of committing multiple murders in the first or second degree, committing the offense with the intent to inflict great bodily injury and use of a firearm.
Beasley's grandmother, Charlotte Beasley, of Richmond, was at work Thursday night when she learned of the verdict.
"He told me he wasn't guilty," she said in an interview. "For two years he's told me he's innocent, and I believed him."
Beasley faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. He's scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 8, according to The Record-Bee newspaper in California.
According to authorities, Beasley killed Frank and Yvette Maddox, of Augusta, on Jan. 22, 2010, alongside Morgan Valley Road and near Lower Lake.
Beasley did not take the stand during the trial. His co-defendant in the case, former Gardiner Area High School wrestling standout Elijah Bae McKay, 30, did testify. McKay grew up with Beasley in Maine and helped him start in the marijuana growing trade in California.
The prosecution claimed Beasley killed the Maddoxes after they stole some of his marijuana.
McKay so far has not been scheduled for trial, although he faces the same charges and is alleged to have provided Beasley with the 9 mm handgun he used to shoot the Maddoxes and helped destroy evidence afterward.
McKay's grandfather, Clarence McKay, who lives in Maine, declined to comment on Beasley's conviction late Thursday.
Charlotte Beasley said she had hoped to go to California for the trial but was unable to pay for the trip.
She said her grandson has continued to assure her of his innocence throughout the two-plus years he has been in custody in Clear Lake, Calif. She said she has prayed for him every day.
"He said, 'Nana, I don't need your prayers because I'm innocent,'" she said.
Drugs and murder
The verdict on Thursday concluded the 14th day of the trial, which began in mid-November.
Beasley's attorney, Stephen Carter, on Wednesday questioned two final witnesses -- former sheriff's detective Tom Andrews and detective Frank Walsh -- before closing arguments started.
Carter focused on McKay in his closing arguments, suggesting that it was McKay, and not Beasley, who murdered the couple.
Beasley, believing the Maddoxes had broken into his Lower Lake apartment and stolen marijuana, allegedly tricked the couple into driving him down the remote road, where he shot them.
McKay testified that Beasley had planned to scare the couple into admitting that they had stolen his marijuana, but that the confrontation deteriorated and that after shooting at their feet, and shooting Frank Maddox in the leg, Beasley shot both of them in the head.
After Judge Andrew Blum read jury instructions, prosecutor Art Grothe moved into closing arguments by reviewing the charges against Beasley, explaining to jurors the process of considering the charges, and how to understand malice and the deliberative process on Beasley's part.
In most trials, at least a few points are in dispute. In this case, he said, the only point of dispute between the prosecution and defense is whether Beasley killed the Maddoxes.
Grothe said McKay brought Beasley from Maine and set him up in marijuana growing. Beasley, in the fall of 2009, invited the Maddoxes to California, where they began working in McKay's grow operation on Morgan Valley Road.
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