Update: Brown found guilty of felony murder of Willie Joe Beasley

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Willie Joe Beasley was murdered in August 1988 at his Monroe, Ga. home. He was 43 at the time. Photo credit: Monroe Police Department

Update:

Alcovy Circuit Court District Attorney Randy McGinley reports that the jury found Perry Brown guilty of felony murder in the 1988 murder of Willie Joe Beasley. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Public Safety Director Keith Glass was on hand for the verdict.

“Today a Walton County Jury found Perry Brown guilty of Felony Murder in the brutal and cruel 1988 killing of Willie Joe Beasley, without question one of, if not the most gruesome murders in the City of Monroe’s history. Today the dedication and untiring work of MPD Detectives, GBI Agents, and Prosecutors, both past and present, brought peace and justice to Mr. Beasley’s soul,” Glass said. “Today was a long time coming, while confident and proud of the result, it brought with it a ‘Life Sentence’ to Perry Brown, a man I went to school with here in Monroe. It would be remiss of me not to thank the jurors, for their job was very demanding and tough in this case and I appreciate and thank you for your service to the citizens of Monroe and Walton County.”

Initial story

After two days of testimony and closing arguments on Thursday, a Walton County jury began deliberations in the trial of Perry Brown, 60, one of the defendants in the 1988 Monroe murder of Willie Joe Beasley, 43 at the time of his death. Brown and Jerry Jones, 67, both of Monroe, were arrested last summer and charged in the Cold Case murder of Beasley in his home at 523 1/2 North Broad St., Monroe on Aug. 18, 1988. Both men are charged with malice murder and felony murder. Brown is the only one on trial at the moment.

In his closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Randy McGinley described the murder, reiterating to the jury to horrific way in which Beasley was found a couple of days after Aug. 17, 1988, which was the last day he was seen at work alive.

Perry Brown, 60. Photo credit: Walton County Sheriff’s Office

“His ankles were tied, he was anally sodomized, his wrists were bound with wire and attached to his neck, he had a cloth in his mouth and a trash bag on his head,” McGinley said. The cause of death as determined by the coroner the day after Beasley was found was suffocation. McGinley said in addition to the cloth in Beasley’s mouth, two other cloths were tied around his head. McGinley said the plastic bag over his head was what killed him, but the cloth in his mouth would have sped up the process.

According to court testimony, Brown was seen with Jones in the doorway of Beasley’s home by a witness in between when the victim was last seen at work and when he was discovered deceased. Also, Brown’s fingerprint allegedly was on the trash bag that McGinley said was technically the murder weapon.

Attorney Anthony Carter, who is defending Brown, raised the possibility that Beasley could have been participating in consensual erotic asphyxiation when he died. However, McGinley argued that was not a reasonable argument, based on the way he was tied up.

“He couldn’t have got free even if he had wanted to,” McGinley said. A television and VCR had been removed from Beasley’s home when his body was discovered, but no clear motive was established.

Brown was in the courtroom in a wheelchair during closing arguments and there were no friends or family members in attendance for either Brown or the victim.

Monroe Public Safety Director Keith Glass and Monroe Police Detective Ricky Chambers, who lead the investigation on the cold case in conjunction with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and the Walton County District Attorney’s Office, were both in the courtroom Thursday for closing arguments. Glass repeated what he’d said when he announced the arrests of Brown and Jones, that Beasley’s life and his soul mattered.

“We needed to get justice for Mr. Beasley, for his soul. It was the moral thing to do,” Glass said. At the time of going to press, a verdict had not been announced.

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