Sunday, September 19, 2010

COLD CASES MAY WARM UP!
by Steve Fair
Shawn Beaty lived in Bryan County, Oklahoma(Durant area). She was a founding partner of Sun and Reaction Sports, a company that represented several major scuba equipment manufacturers. She also owned a dive travel agency. On January 31, 2005, Shawn Beaty's charred body was found after a house fire that authorities determined was arson. Her husband, a scuba expert, was on Grand Cayman Island when he got the news. “I got a phone call at 9 o’clock in the morning on February 1st and was told that my house had burned, everything I owned was gone, my wife was dead and both my dogs were dead,” he said. “I literally had nothing left but the suitcases I had with me.”
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Jerry Beaty offered a $25,000 reward in the case. He hired a private investigator, appealed to the dive community and even filed a civil suit against a man he says was responsible for the crime although investigators had not named that person as a suspect.
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In 2007, a Bryan County judge denied Jerry Beaty’s petition for a grand jury investigation into his wifes death. The judge who denied the petition was the DA when the murder was committed. Jerry Beaty’s attorney said the judge should have recused himself, but the judge said the issue never came up in the proceedings.
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Jerry Beaty worked with the OSBI and other authorities in his quest to find his wife's killer, but finally in desperation he turned to the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute at Auburn University-Montgomery. College students from Auburn-Montgomery and Faulkner University in Alabama work with students at Bauder College in Atlanta to investigate unsolved crimes. Participants don’t get grades or credits; instead, they get the chance to work with law enforcement professionals on real crimes. They have worked on high profile cases like the Chendra Levy and Natalie Hollaway case. They are credited with solving the Levy murder. But because CCIRI wasn't a ‘law enforcement’ agency, the OSBI could not release records to CCIRI.
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Jerry Beaty turned to State Representative Sue Tibbs, (R-Tulsa), and State Senator Don Barrington, (R-Lawton) for help. They authored HB 3294 which allowed the OSBI to release the files and now the students are on the case.
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“Unfortunately, Mr. Beaty was told that current state law barred the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation from releasing files to the Cold Case Investigative Research Institute,” Barrington said. “HB 3294 cleared the way for the OSBI to release information to other agencies and groups outside law enforcement such as CCIRI in an effort to solve cold cases.”
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A cold case is any criminal investigation by a law enforcement agency that has not been solved for (generally) at least one year and, as a result, has been closed from further regular investigations. Cases get closed for a variety of reasons such as: previously available technology was not able to adequately analyze the evidence in order to form a conclusion; witnesses became hostile or uncooperative; various time constraints hindered the investigation; heavy workloads for law enforcement; or the most common, a lack of worthwhile leads stalled the case.
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Over 200,000 murders committed in the United States the past fifty years remain unsolved. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, only about 62.6% of homicides are "cleared" each year, leaving a substantial portion of murder cases unresolved. That means over 6,000 murders hit the cold case files every year.
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“We’ve worked to ensure law enforcement in Oklahoma can fully utilize important forensic tools such as DNA and other types of crime scene evidence,” Barrington said. “This new law will enable us to take advantage of additional programs and organizations to help us solve cold cases.”
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Only time will tell whether the students at CCIRI will be able to solve Shawn Beaty’s murder, but HB 3294 will give Oklahomans like Jerry Beaty the option to get help with cold cases. For their efforts, Barrington, Tibbs, and Governor Henry will receive the first annual ‘Shawn Beaty Award’ in Atlanta on October 7th.

7 comments:

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Steve Fair is a political activist. said...

Thanks for reading.

Steve

Jerry said...

I want to thank Steve for this blog. It shows you do your homework. I also want to let you know the Auburn Universty and the Cold Case Insitiute has created the Shawn Beaty Award to be given annualy. It will be given to any person, group or association that changes or creates legeslation that aids crime victims. Again thank you for posting this information

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

Shawn was my cousin who I adored. I hope they find out who took her from us...and let me be in a room with him for about 30 minutes.

fatdad01 said...

Shawn was my cousin to. She could walk in to room and light it up. To Shawn you will always walk in my heart whit me forever. Still loving you till I DIE CUZ.

fatdad01 said...

Shawn was my cousin to.She could walk into a room her smile would light it up.Her lafhter was like a warm wind in the spring.Shawn you will forever be in my heart.Not a day gose by for me not thing of you.My anger for what happed has die down BOOBOO.But givien the optuent I would do right by Roycroft law. Shawn please keep smiling for us............

fatdad01 said...

sorry for some incorrect spelling