January 9, 2013

Ex-Augusta man gets life for California double murder

By CRAIG CROSBY, Staff Writer and ELIZABETH LARSON, Special to the Kennebec Journal

A former Augusta man who killed a Maine couple in California three years ago will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Meanwhile, hours before Robby Alan Beasley, 32, was sentenced Tuesday to two life sentences plus 23 years in prison, another man charged with helping carry out the murders walked out of jail after pleading guilty to a lesser charge.

Beasley was convicted in December in connection with the January 2010 murders of Augusta residents Frank and Yvette Maddox along a California roadside. He was found guilty on two counts of murder as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm and special allegations of committing multiple murders in the first or second degree, committing the offense with the intent to inflict great bodily injury and use of a firearm.

The sentence was handed down Tuesday in a Lake County, Calif., courthouse hours after Elijah Bae McKay, 30, pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact and was released on time served, according to Lake County Record Bee reporter Jeremy Walsh. McKay was originally charged as Beasley's co-defendant and faced a trial for double murder.

McKay, a former wrestling standout at Gardiner Area High School, grew up with Beasley and helped him start in the marijuana growing trade in California. Beasley, who knew the Maddoxes from his time in Augusta, invited the couple west to help with the growing operation.

The prosecution claimed during the trial that Beasley killed the couple after they stole some of his marijuana. McKay is alleged to have provided Beasley with the 9mm handgun he used to shoot them and helped destroy evidence afterward.

Beasley was convicted following a 14-day trial, which began in mid-November. His attorney, Stephen Carter, suggested during the trial that it was McKay, and not Beasley, who murdered the couple.

Beasley, believing the Maddoxes broke into his Lower Lake apartment and stole marijuana, tricked the couple into driving him down the remote road, where he shot them, the prosecution said.

McKay testified that Beasley had planned to scare the couple into admitting that they stole his marijuana, but the confrontation deteriorated.

McKay, who did not have a deal in place before testifying against Beasley, is scheduled to be sentenced later this year. The maximum sentence for the accessory conviction is less time than he served while awaiting trial, meaning he likely faces no additional time in jail.

Beasley told the court at Tuesday's sentencing that McKay lied about giving him the handgun, and that McKay did not have the gun at his house, but kept it in his marijuana garden, which conflicted with McKay's statements on the stand.

McKay's statement that there had been a cake at his brother's birthday party on the night of the murders, when McKay had said he had gone to pick up Beasley, also was a lie, Beasley maintained.

Facing pressure from a possible prison sentence, as well as threats that his fiancée would be arrested and their young son taken into state custody, Beasley said McKay lied and was rewarded by the prosecution.

"Elijah McKay is a pathological liar," Beasley said. "The truth is, I was wrongly convicted based on lies and manipulation, not truth and facts."

Judge Andrew Blum found that there were no factors in mitigation in Beasley's case, as the crimes involved great violence, he had previous convictions and a prison term, his convictions had become increasingly violent and his past performance on parole or probation was not satisfactory.

Blum sentenced Beasley to a term of life without the possibility of parole for each of the Maddoxes, to be served consecutively. The additional 23 years was for the other charges. Beasley also was ordered to pay restitution and fines.

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