At the conclusion of his sentencing hearing, John Paul Beckmeyer didn’t have much to say.
“I do feel quite bitter remorse for this,” he stated to the court Friday, Aug. 20. …
At the conclusion of his sentencing hearing for second-degree murder, John Paul Beckmeyer didn’t have much to say.
“I do feel quite bitter remorse for this,” he said in Jefferson County Superior Court Friday.
“I was afraid for my life. Things happened and I’m very sorry about that," Beckmeyer said. "I don’t know what else I can say.”
Beckmeyer was arrested last August after he shot James McDonald, 24, during a barbecue on Griffith Point Road in Nordland.
Beckmeyer had claimed self-defense, but he was found guilty of second-degree murder after a 12-day trial in early July.
Superior Court Judge Keith Harper followed the prosecutor’s recommendation Friday on how long Beckmeyer should stay behind bars.
“I’m not going to depart from the suggested range,” Harper said, sentencing Beckmeyer to 215 months for second-degree murder; 132 months for firearms enhancements, and 364 days for a charge of fourth-degree assault.
Beckmeyer — with a 215-month sentence for second-degree murder and the additional 132 months for the firearm enhancements — will have a total sentence of 28.9 years in prison.
Beckmeyer faces 36 months of community custody upon his release, and it was stipulated that he has a no-contact order with McDonald's girlfriend, who was at the barbecue when McDonald was shot twice by Beckmeyer. Beckmeyer was also ordered to pay $700 in fees.
In a direct address to Beckmeyer’s defense attorney, Richard Davies, Harper was blunt, stating that the earlier request that a mistrial be declared and the surrounding contention around the jury’s deliberations was “probably one of the most frustrating things I’ve read or listened to in my career as a judge,” he said, “or in my previous career as a lawyer.”
Harper insisted that jurors are presumed to follow instructions.
When faced with a single dissenting juror’s change of heart at the last trial, Harper was sharp: “That doesn’t cut it with me,” he said.
Shane McDonald, the victim’s father addressed the court via Zoom a final time before the sentencing. “I know you remember the interview of Mr. Beckmeyer” in which Beckmeyer stated, “his life [as] being over as he knows it.” McDonald implored the court to “follow his [Beckmeyer’s] own words.”
“It’s really in your hands and God’s hands,” he said, his voice breaking.
Danielle Bouche, former girlfriend of Beckmeyer, also spoke via Zoom.
“I was going to write a letter but I just couldn’t get myself to do it,” she said. “I think about James a lot; I pray for him a lot. What happened that day was awful.”