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Burglar Pleads Guilty to Murder of Unbuckled Officer Killed During Car Chase

Categories: Crime
beckham haynes.jpg
Haynes (right) died in a car crash while attempting to arrest Beckham for a residential burglary.
Sheldon Beckham entered pleas of "guilty as charged" yesterday to four counts in connection with the burglary of a south-side home and the subsequent death of St. Louis police officer David Haynes.

A resident in the 5400 block of Bancroft found Beckham in the act of burglarizing his home on March 24, 2010, and chased him off. The resident then called police with a description of Beckham and his vehicle. Haynes spotted the suspect blocks away and attempted to pull over Beckham, who sped away.

Haynes was chasing the suspect through the intersection of Kingshighway and Oleatha when an SUV not involved in the chase struck his police cruiser and sent it flying into other vehicles. Haynes, 27, was pronounced dead at a hospital after emergency responders finally pulled him out of the wreckage. Beckham was arrested about twelve hours later.

In court yesterday, Beckham pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, felony murder, burglary and resisting a lawful stop by flight with serious physical injury/death.

Sentencing is set for October 27. Beckham certainly deserves prison time for his actions, but prior to sentencing, let's hope the judge also considers the fact that Haynes was violating the law during the car chase. Perhaps if he'd been wearing his seat belt, he'd still be alive today and Beckham wouldn't be a "murderer."


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8 comments
Chris McKenzie
Chris McKenzie

So, if a cop pulls me over for speeding and then is killed by a car passing by, am I a murderer?

NugsOTruth
NugsOTruth

Chad, I'm shocked and disappointed in what your final paragraph infers.  Officer Haynes lack of seat belt at the time of his death has and should have absolutely no bearing on the guilt and sentencing of Beckham.  Firstly, it assumes that the wearing of seat belt would have saved officer Haynes which is an extrapolation at best.  Second, Officer Haynes and the SLPD would not have been involved in the chase had Beckham not broken into a house and decided to steal.  Officer Haynes was in violation of SLPD department policy requiring officers to buckle up at all times, that’s all.  This is a policy they and everyone else in this country violate on a daily basis, and that in my opinion officers have a reasonable excuse in doing so due to the stress and quick reaction times needed in their profession. Beckham is guilty of murder and should be sentenced to the maximum.  His decision to commit crimes resulted in Officer Haynes's death, not his lack of a seat belt.

Your Momma
Your Momma

BINGO! That's right, Chris! Welcome to twisted logic, 101. 

Chad Garrison
Chad Garrison

No one can possibly know whether or not a seat belt could have saved Haynes life. But if I were Beckman's attorney, I'd certainly be bringing up that matter during the sentencing phase. I'm not defending Beckman's actions, but there remains the possibility that this would not be a murder case had Haynes been buckled up, and that's certainly worth noting at sentencing. 

Your Momma
Your Momma

Where you went wrong, Chad, was to make the only element between Beckman's actions and murder is the issue of the seat belt. 

Regardless of the seat belt, this is not "MURDER". The logic is tortured. 

Anonymous
Anonymous

Oops. I should've added: don't get me wrong, Beckman should have the book thrown at him and Haynes's death is a terrible tragedy, I just think the charge doesn't fit, and was a ballsy move that could've been thrown out.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I was trying to rationalize why he pleaded to a second-degree murder charge instead of vehicular homicide or something lesser, even if there was a deal offered. Seems like his defense just rolled over but there's a lot more to the story than what's reported here. It seems like it would've been a stretch to get it to stick but shouldn't be surprising given the current state of the justice system.

Beckman may have been responsible for causing the chase, but because of that should he be held responsible for all of Haynes' actions during the chase? If so, like you said: a officer killed in the line of duty responding to any type of call there or miles away could cause someone to be charged with it.

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