Murder sentence over 3 decades

Nordland man also to serve time for assault

PORT TOWNSEND — The Nordland man convicted of second-degree murder with a firearm has been sentenced to more than 31 years in prison.

A jury had found John Paul Beckmeyer, 60, guilty of shooting and killing James McDonald, 24, of Nordland on Aug. 25, 2020, and Beckmeyer was sentenced on Friday by Superior Court Judge Keith Harper.

Beckmeyer was found guilty of second-degree murder with a firearm, second-degree assault with a firearm against Randi Benson and Danielle Boucher, and fourth-degree assault with domestic violence against Boucher at the conclusion of the three-week jury trial on June 29.

Beckmeyer was sentenced to a total of 347 months in prison, with 215 months for the second-degree murder charge, 17½ months for each count of second-degree assault of Benson and Boucher, and 364 days for the fourth-degree assault against Boucher, according to court documents.

The second-degree murder count also has an additional 60-month confinement time due to the firearm enhancement, and each of the counts of second-degree assault have an additional 36 months due to the firearm enhancement, court documents said.

The firearm enhancements and the murder sentence will be served consecutively, leading to the 347 months of confinement.

Jefferson County Prosecutor James Kennedy praised the work put in by everyone involved in the case in a Facebook post by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

“This is a total team effort,” he said in the post. “The (Washington State Patrol) crime lab, King County Medical Examiner, Detective Frank from the Sheriff’s Office, Detective Stuart from the Police Department, and everyone on my prosecution team and in local law enforcement worked together to get justice for the McDonald family.

“It is an honor to work with so many dedicated professionals.”

At the sentencing hearing Friday, Deputy Prosecutor Chris Ashcraft said a standard-range sentence was appropriate.

Ashcraft said Beckmeyer started the altercation by striking his girlfriend, Boucher, because she would not turn down her radio, the Facebook post said.

Defense Attorney Richard Davies argued for a sentence below the standard range — about 10 years — based upon Beckmeyer’s medical condition, lack of criminal history and due to the fact he believed he was acting in self-defense, the Facebook post said.

Ashcraft argued there were no mitigating factors warranting a sentence below the standard range because Beckmeyer started the incident by striking his girlfriend and said all of the physical evidence contradicted his claim of self-defense.

Harper found no evidence to support a sentence outside of the standard range; in particular, he found no evidence that McDonald was a willing participant in the incident.

After the sentencing, Davies filed a notice of appeal to the state Court of Appeals, asking the court to review the judgment, sentence and “every part thereof” regarding Beckmeyer’s case.

During the incident on Aug. 25, 2020, Beckmeyer struck Boucher’s head, leading to Benson and McDonald confronting Beckmeyer about hitting a woman. Beckmeyer became angry, threatened to get his Colt .45 and walked to and entered the fifth-wheel trailer in which he lived.

At the same time, McDonald walked into a house on the property on the 200 block of Griffith Point Road in Nordland and returned minutes later with an open double-barrel shotgun — which Ashcraft had argued during the trial meant it couldn’t be readily fired.

A short time later, Beckmeyer fired nine shots out of the bedroom window, several of which went over the women’s heads and two of which struck and killed McDonald.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]

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