Accused murderer says he didn't intend to kill wife

The day his wife died, Clifford Beach later recalled for police how he went to his shed and picked out some garden tools.
Annie Zelm
Feb 11, 2011

The day his wife died, Clifford Beach later recalled for police how he went to his shed and picked out some garden tools.

He told police he went back inside the home and pushed his wife's walker away from her recliner, so she couldn't escape. Then he removed the batteries from the house phone.

Sitting in his wheelchair, he approached his wife, Linda Beach, as she sat in her recliner.

"She said that she was scared," Beach told Bellevue police Capt. Matt Johnson in a recorded interview from Aug. 16, the day Linda died. "And I said, 'You should be.'"

Beach, 80, said he was seated in his wheelchair when he first struck Linda's hand with a pickax.

Then he aimed for her head.

"When you hit her, were you trying to kill her?" Johnson asked in the recording.

"Not really," Beach replied. "I wanted to hurt her."

Testifying at his trial in Huron County Common Pleas Court on Thursday, Beach said he only took the tools inside his home to smash the television and living room furniture.

He claimed he moved Linda's walker so he could reach the television, though photos from the crime scene show the television and furniture were untouched.

Pressed about how and why he struck his wife, Beach couldn't recall the details.

He took long pauses during questioning, and at times erupted into coughing fits.

"I heard the tape and I've seen the pictures," Beach said, his voice tightening. "There's a lot there that I can't give an answer to."

His court-appointed attorney, Reese Wineman, said there's no way to justify Beach's actions, but he didn't mean to kill his wife.

Huron County prosecutor Russ Leffler said the manner in which Linda was killed -- and Beach's apparent lack of remorse afterward -- proves otherwise.

Beach is on trial for aggravated murder, murder and gross abuse of a corpse.

His recorded interview with police on the day of the murder -- paired with his unexpected testimony in court -- painted a bleak portrait of the couple's life together.

It also unveiled gruesome details of Linda's final moments.

Leffler said it's clear Beach showed prior calculation when he pushed himself to the garage in his wheelchair while his wife was in the bathroom. He returned with three garden tools from the shed.

Beach sliced into Linda's arms and legs repeatedly after beating her with a pickax and other tools, Leffler said. He then left her mutilated body in the home overnight.

Leffler cited the medical examiner's report and held up graphic photographs from the scene -- a sort of final reminder to jurors.

"She didn't have a chance," Leffler said, directing jurors to a smiling photo of the 63-year-old woman who was married to Beach for 30 years.

"She died, according to the medical examiner, within two minutes from blows to the head," Leffler said. "I think when you consider those things, you'll have to convict him on these three charges. This is a gruesome, brutal crime."

Leffler said Beach sawed into Linda's limbs with knives in an apparent attempt to dismember her after she was dead. She had at least 60 wounds on her body.

Beach told the court he'd been unhappy with his wife for years and repeatedly asked her for a divorce. He complained she ate too much fast food, pilfered money from him and watched too much TV in her recliner, where police found her body the morning of Aug. 16.

While prosecutors said it's clear Beach killed his wife, jurors must decide if the evidence proves Beach actually intended to kill her.

After deliberating for a more than an hour on Thursday, the jury plans to reconvene today to reach a final verdict.

Comments

Lisa

Jurors must decide if he actually intended to kill her??? Uhm, he hit her in the head with a pickax..

I Judge you

Maybe just maybe this is what happened. He just could'nt stand her anymore, not another second, and it's been building up for 30 years. He has no life outside his home. So he figures I can solve two problems at once. Still not right.

Julie R.

What a horrible life that poor woman must have had with nobody to turn to..........

That said ---- what will now be the conclusion? Prison isn't the answer for this demented old man and neither is a nursing home. Pathetic.

comment this

tHIS IS JUST A SAD STORY ALL THE WAY AROUND

EddieOs

Sad commentary. Friendless people. Disabled, overwhelmed, onset of dementia...speaks to the problems in our society.

Captain Gutz

@ EddieOs,

If this murder "speaks to the problems in our society.", why doesn't this happen all the time? To everyone? We all live in the same society.

DGMutley

He is a control freak.  Period.  If life was so tough for him he could have walked at any time.

I agree with the prosecution.  

Hope he meets buba.
 

MattDamon

Umm why does it matter if he "intended" to kill her? He did kill her, quite brutally too.

 

 

And at this point why does the trail even matter. Give him 20 years, he'll probably die next week, quit wasting money

CrowtownNow

@Matt

 The reason they are trying to figure out if he "intended" to kill her, is to determine if he gets charged with murder.  The Ohio Revised Code lays out guidelines for what must be present in order for it to be murder.

For Aggravated Murder: No person shall purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the death of another

For Murder:  No person shall purposely cause the death of another

 

 

MattDamon

He beat an 80 year old woman with garden tools, moved her walker and disabled the phone. He admitted this story to police.

 

I think if he didn't "purposly" kill her, he would have accidentally done something.

Example: He slipped on ice, bumped into her, she falls and dies. - That is not murder, he had an accident. She still dies as a result of his actions

 

Purposly hitting somebody with sharp objects and "going to far" consequently killing her is absolutely muder.

Creating no way for her to ecape, disabling the phone is absolutely aggravated murder.

Kottage Kat

she was 63.

CrowtownNow

 I was in no way implying that he didn't intend to kill her, it's quite obvious he did.  I was just pointing out why all of a sudden the defense would say it wasn't intended.

starryeyes83

this guy was meaner than a snake when he  was younger too,  used to beat her alot...  dementia isn't all  the reason...

asdferdf

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mrbeno

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