A man who killed his abuser will now spend at least the next 12 years in jail.
25-year-old Russell Matthew Beaver pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of 32-year-old Shawn Mead on Thursday. He was given a life sentence with possibility for parole after 12 years.
Beaver met Mead when he was 13 and Mead was 20. For years, Beaver says he was physically, sexually, and emotionally abused by the older man. In 2008, Beaver tried to cut off all ties with Mead but his attempt was unsuccesful. The two men’s relationship had become nothing other than abuse, fighting, and threats.
But Mead tried contacting Beaver relentlessly when the man tried to cut him out of his life. Beaver told the court that Mead called and texted him non-stop. When Mead’s advances became too much for Beaver to handle, he took drastic measures to fix it.
He confronted Mead at his home with a loaded 12-gauge shotgun and killed him. Despite the long history of abuse, prosecuting attorney Darrell Martin argued that Beaver was not justified in killing Mead.
“There is no doubt that Mr. Mead harassed Mr. Beaver for about two-and-a-half years before his death,” said Martin. “(But) the bottom line is that as a society we cannot (permit) vigilantism no matter how difficult your life has become.”
Police discovered Mead’s decomposing body in his apartment about three weeks after the shooting.
Justice Peter Rosinski said that the court could not gloss over the fact that Beaver never once tried to contact the police for help. Rosinski added that he believes Beaver is at a very low risk to reoffend. The judge cited the man’s stable employment and relationship history and three-year sobriety as his reasons for this belief. Still, there appear to be no winners in this story.
“There are no happy moments here,” defense attorney Luke Cragg said.