Parents of Mears man murdered in 2019 fight for justice.

August 17, 2021

Parents of Mears man murdered in 2019 fight for justice.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

MEARS — Denita and William Buchanan were devastated when they received the news that their only son, William Craig Buchanan, 32, was murdered in 2019, and the heartbreak only intensified in September of 2020 when they were informed that the charges against the man accused of his murder were dismissed.

The murder, assault and weapon charges against Corey Ryan Beekman, 34, of Free Soil Township were dismissed, Sept. 22, 2020 in Mason County’s 51st Circuit Court.

William Craig Buchanan

Bill Buchanan

Beekman was accused of murdering Buchanan in Beekman’s Free Soil Township home April 16, 2019 and wounding 33-year-old Katlin Buck with a gunshot to the arm.

Buchanan’s mother, Denita Buchanan, believes her son went to Beekman’s house with Buck to help her move out.

A former Army National Guard staff sergeant, Beekman was in an hour-and-a-half standoff with police following the shooting.

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

Beekman was charged with second-degree murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and felony firearm for the shooting death of Buchanan and wounding Buck. A nine-day jury trial was scheduled to commence in Mason County Circuit Court on Sept. 22, 2020.

Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola, who has since retired, explained that the dismissal of the charges was due to the unavailability of witnesses. “Without this important testimony, justice would not be able to be served,” Spaniola stated in a press release issued in 2020. “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. 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.’”

Bill with his son, Billy III.

Multiple attempts were made by Mason County sheriff’s office deputies to serve subpoenas issued by both the prosecution and the defense on key witness Buck and her two children.

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

Mason County Prosecutor Lauren Kreinbink, who was assistant prosecutor at the time, stated that she spoke with Katlin’s mother, Nancy Parker, on the phone. “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 had been lodged in the Mason County Jail on a $750,000 bond since the time of the shooting, was released.

Buchanan’s mother, Denita Buchanan, said she doesn’t believe that the prosecutor’s office is doing its job. “It’s really been tough for us, because he’s running loose,” she said of Beekman.

“Since all of this, we’ve been struggling so badly,” she said as her voice trembled. Despite their approximate 10-year age difference, Billy and his older sister Bobby were extremely close. “She was like his little body guard,” she reminisced. “Little brother would never get hurt with sissy around.”

Billy leaves behind a son, Billy III, who is now 17 years old. “He doesn’t have his daddy.”

Denita said it’s extremely difficult to now have “pure silence” in their home after Billy’s loss. “He used to play jokes on his dad.” Laughter used to fill their home.

“We’re not the same people anymore.”

“His life was taken for no reason.”

“We’ve all missed out on so much,” she said as tears streamed down her face. “Our son was taken from us for no reason. He was basically ambushed. The police are telling us he was a hero, because he saved those little girls by telling them to say put. Our son was a hero — he saved two little girls, but he still didn’t need to die in the process.

“My heart goes out to her little kids, because they’re traumatized forever.

“If you did love (Billy), then do the right thing as an adult and as a mother,” she said of the key witness.

“Her kids are going to go for the rest of their lives knowing what happened in that house, and for their mother not to get up and say, ‘I was there; I was a part of this; let me do the right thing.’

“Please do the right thing; come in and talk to the prosecutor; let’s open this back up; say what exactly happened; and let’s move forward,” she would like to say to Katlin. “That’s all I’m asking. Give yourself some piece of mind; give your children some piece of mind; and give us some closure.

“We are both out to get justice for our son — in the right way — but we’re not going to be quiet. Our son’s life was ripped from him and from us for no reason and left to die alone.

“I just want some small piece of closure for our family.”

MCP was unsuccessful in obtaining an updated comment about the case from the Mason County Prosecutor’s Office.

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