Thursday, February 11, 2010

Oro Valley man gets 25 to life for strangling "girlfriend," mom of 2

An Oro Valley, AZ man was sentenced to 25 years to life yesterday for the beating and strangulation death of his "girlfriend," 25 year old Lisa Berrie.

On Aug. 12, 2008, [36 year old Paul] Beam's father called 911 to say there had been a domestic violence incident at his son's Oro Valley apartment and his son's girlfriend had been injured. Beam was outside when police arrived, but he turned and went back inside, according to court documents. When police got him to open the door, he said he and two children were the only ones in the apartment.

During a search of the apartment, police found Berrie unconscious on the bedroom floor. She was pronounced dead at University Medical Center about an hour later. An autopsy revealed Berrie had been beaten and strangled.

During his trial, Darlene Edminson-O'Brien, assistant Pima County public defender, asked jurors to convict Beam of manslaughter, saying Beam acted in the heat of passion after Berrie told him she was leaving him and taking their 2-year-old daughter, Katlyn.

However, the victim's parents, Marc and Linda Berrie, told the court that their daughter told them Beam was abusive and that she feared for her life if she ever left him. The parents also helped their daughter apply for jobs in their home state of Delaware for an eventual move back there.

Besides the loss of their daughter, the victim's parents had to move to Tucson to take care of their grandchildren, Katlyn and 8 year old Jeremy. This was because Arizona did not want the children moved out of state. The victim's mother had to retire and become her grandkids' full time caregiver, and this has cost them their life savings.

As for the kids, Katlin reeancts her mother's last moments with her dolls and asks why she can't go and see her mom.

The victim's sister, 24 year old Suzanne Berrie, said that her sister, "a strong Viking woman," would have fought back if given the chance. "He's not a man. He's an animal." 

Jeremy, before showing Pima County Superior Court Judge Clark Munger a picture of his mother, said "I feel mad and sad. Because of this man, my sister is an orphan."

Beam himself read a statement about his "extreme regret" for the killing of Jeremy and Katlin's mom. "I cannot give back what I've taken and for that I'm truly sorry...I do not ask for forgiveness because I can't forgive myself. This never should have happened and I accept responsibility for that."

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