Murder case dismissed.

September 22, 2020

Corey Beekman and defense attorney Al Swanson, Jr.
– MCP file photo

Murder case dismissed.

Key witness refusing to testify.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

This article was updated Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. with further information.

LUDINGTON — The murder, assault and weapon charges against Corey Ryan Beekman, 33, of Free Soil Township were dismissed Tuesday, Sept. 22, in Mason County’s 51st Circuit Court.

Beekman was accused of murdering William Buchanan, 32, of Mears, April 16, 2019 and wounding 33-year-old Katlin Buck with a gunshot to the arm.

Buck, a key witness in the case, is evading authorities who are trying serve subpoenas on her and her two children — who were in the home at the time of shooting.

“This morning, Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Spaniola announced that charges against Corey Ryan Beekman of Free Soil are being dismissed without prejudice,” states a press release issued by Spaniola’s office Tuesday. “Beekman had been charged with second-degree murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and felony firearm for the shooting death of William Craig Buchanan of Mears and the wounding of Katlin Michelle Buck on April 16, 2019. A nine-day jury trial was scheduled to commence in Mason County Circuit Court on Sept. 22. The trial had been delayed on several occasions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Spaniola explained that the dismissal of the charges at this time is due to the unavailability of witnesses. Without this important testimony, justice would not be able to be served. Mr. Beekman is considered innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

“A dismissal without prejudice means that charges may be refiled at a later date. The statute of limitations on a homicide never expires and the case may be brought forward at a future date. Said Spaniola: ‘I am optimistic that one day this case may be able to be heard so that Billy Buchanan and his family can receive the justice they deserve.'”

During a hearing via Zoom video conferencing in 51st Circuit Court Monday Sept. 21, Spaniola said multiple attempts were made over the last several days by Mason County sheriff’s officers to serve subpoenas issued by both the prosecution and the defense on key witness Buck and her two children. However, Buck is evading authorities.

They initially went to a local address, which they discovered was outdated. A second address also came up dry. Officers traveled to a “downstate” residence where it appeared that Buck lives, Spaniola said.

At the third address, no one would answer the door, although the home appeared to be occupied. Officers could hear the sounds of someone inside the residence but no one approached. They also heard a dog barking inside the house.

Buck’s mother, Nancy Parker, arrived at the residence and ordered the officers off the premises, Spaniola said

Further efforts continued to be made by the officers to serve the subpoenas. Investigation revealed where the children were attending school, but subpoenas could not be served at the school building because the children are involved in virtual instruction due to COVID-19, the prosecutor said.

A vehicle parked in the driveway of the downstate residence is registered in Buck’s name, Det. Michael Kenney testified.

The subpoenas remain in the possession of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office with instructions to “further make efforts” to serve them, Spaniola said.

Assistant Prosecutor Lauren Kreinbink stated that she spoke with Katlin’s mother on the phone Friday, Sept. 18. “She made it very clear that Katlin was not going to be found and that she would not be providing testimony in court.”

Judge Susan K. Sniegowski said she did not receive any requests from the prosecution to place Buck in custody, which would have ensured that she testify. Nor did she receive any requests to place the children to some form of protective custody to secure their testimony.

Judge Sniegowski received a request from the prosecution to use the testimony that Buck provided during the preliminary exam in 79th District Court in June of 2019 in place of the testimony she would have provided at trial. She denied the motion.

Beekman, who has been lodged in the Mason County Jail on a $750,000 bond since the time of the shooting, has been released.

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