Murder case bound over to circuit court.

June 19, 2019

Murder case bound over to circuit court.


By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

LUDINGTON — The murder case against Corey Ryan Beekman, 32, of Free Soil Township was bound over to 51st Circuit Court following a preliminary examination in 79th District Court Wednesday, June 19.

Beekman is accused of murdering William Buchanan, 32, of Mears, April 16, and wounding 32-year-old Kaitlin Buck with a gunshot to the arm. He had served as a staff sergeant with the National Guard and had previously been to deployed to Afghanistan, according to one of his military friends.

Kaitlin Buck testifies.

The preliminary exam included testimony from Buck and four police officers who responded to the scene.

A preliminary exam is a proceeding to determine whether there is enough evidence to require a trial, and Judge Peter J. Wadel said there was adequate evidence to bind the case up to 51st Circuit Court.

Beekman, of 10550 N. US 31, originally faced charges of open murder, assault with intent to commit murder and two counts of felony firearms in connection to the shooting that took place at his home. Following testimony Wednesday, his charges were amended to second-degree murder, felonious assault and two counts of felony firearms.

Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola said premeditation could not be proven, so the open murder charge was amended to second-degree murder. Judge Wadel amended the assault with intent to commit murder charge to felonious assault, citing a lack of evidence to prove the more serious charge.

Several family members of Beekman and Buchanan were in the courtroom.

Buck and her two children, ages 7 and 10, were inside the home during the shooting. The children were not physically harmed.

Spaniola called Mason County Sheriff’s Office deputies Matt Moss and Adam Lamb and Detective Steven Hansen to the stand as well as Michigan State Police Sgt. Kenneth Polhemus, who works in the firearms unit of the crime lab in Grayling. Defense attorney Al Swanson, Jr. and co-counsel Naesha Leys, cross examined the witnesses.

Det. Steve Hansen

Buck testified that she was in a dating relationship with Buchanan and was Beekman’s roommate. However, Beekman wanted to be in a romantic relationship with her, she said.

During cross examination, attorney Leys asked, “You never had an intimate relationship with Corey?”

“No, I made it very clear with him several different times, which he could not grasp,” Buck said.

“Isn’t it true you were a couple? Leys asked. “No,” Buck answered. “Have you ever had a romantic relationship with Corey?” the attorney asked. “No,” Buck said. “Did you ever Facetime any of your friends while lying in bed with Corey?” Again the answer was no.

Buck said she blocked Beekman on social media before moving into his house and blocked his phone the day before the shooting.

“He would never let it go,” she said.

“He was trying to get me to marry him so he could get more VA (veterans’ assistance) benefits.”

“Upon entering the residence, I could see the deceased lying on the floor in the dining room area,” Detective Hansen testified. Hansen said he noticed one gunshot wound on Buchanan’s abdomen area above the pelvis on the right side.

“The detective said he observed a bullet hole in the hallway near the master bedroom and other bullet holes close to that location. In the master bedroom, he observed a pack of cigarettes and a spent round of a 9-millimeter Ruger handgun, along with shell casings on the floor. Hansen testified the he saw the gun on the nightstand.

The detective noted that the bedroom door jam had been broken, “busted inward,” he said. There were two other firearms in boxes that were found in the house.

It was determined that the 9-mm handgun was registered to Beekman.

“Billy was just trying to get me (moved) out of the house,” Buck said. “That’s the kind of person he is – he would give you the shirt off his back.”

Hansen said he attended Buchanan’s autopsy and three entrance and three exit wounds were identified. Two were “superficial” wounds, but one was fatal. The fatal wound went through his right arm and arm pit and through his lungs and heart.

According to Buck’s testimony, Beekman told her he had rewritten her into his will.

“I never knew if he was telling the truth or lying,” she said.

“I remember Billy telling me to get down,” Buck said of the shooting. “There was dry wall dust flying everywhere.”

Buck testified that neither she nor Buchanan used any drugs.

When asked if she applied pressure to her wound while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive, Buck said, “I was more concerned with trying to keep my kids safe and keep Billy’s heart beating.”

“It appears the shooter was in the master bedroom standing at the foot of the bed,” said Sgt. Polheimus.

At the end of the hearing, attorney Swanson requested that Judge Wadel consider lowering Beekman’s $750,00 bond, but Wadel did not allow it.

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