PORT TOWNSEND — The estimated two-week trial of a 60-year-old Nordland man charged with first degree murder begins Monday in Jefferson County Superior Court.
John Paul Beckmeyer was charged in August with murder in the first degree — armed with a firearm, and assault in the first degree — domestic violence, after allegedly shooting and killing a 24-year-old Nordland man and assaulting a woman.
First degree murder is a Class A felony punishable up to life in prison and/or a $50,000 fine. Assault in the fourth degree- domestic violence is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a 364 days in jail and/or a $5,000 fine, according to court documents.
Jury selection is expected to take one to two days and if the jury isn’t seated by about 3 to 3:30 p.m., it’s estimated that the opening statements of the trial will begin the following day, said James Kennedy, Jefferson County prosecuting attorney.
Kennedy estimates that the trial will last two weeks, he said Friday.
On August 25, 2020, Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies and Port Townsend Police officers responded to call to the 200 block of Griffith Point Road in Nordland regarding a male shot in the chest, according to a probable cause report written by Deputy Art Frank.
Upon arrival, deputies found James McDonald with at least one gunshot wound lying unresponsive on the ground outside a fifth-wheel trailer.
Paramedics confirmed that McDonald was deceased, Frank said.
Deputies found Beckmeyer inside the fifth-wheel trailer with a firearm before taking him into custody, according to the report.
McDonald and an adult female identified only as Benson, both of whom had been living in a house on the property with Benson’s grandfather, were outside barbecuing and drinking alcohol with Beckmeyer and his girlfriend, Danielle Boucher, both of whom live in the trailer, according to the report.
Beckmeyer allegedly complained to Boucher that her radio was too loud and asked her to turn it down. When she didn’t, Beckmeyer allegedly struck Boucher in the face with his hand, prompting Benson and McDonald to tell Beckmeyer not to hit a woman, according to the report.
Beckmeyer then walked into the trailer, allegedly saying he was going to get his gun. McDonald walked into the house and returned minutes later with an open double-barrel shotgun, indicating it could not readily be fired, according to the report.
Beckmeyer reportedly fired several shots from inside the trailer, striking McDonald, who was standing near Benson and Boucher, at least once, according to the report.
Frank reported seeing additional bullet holes in the side of the trailer.
Upon his arrest, Beckmeyer allegedly told deputies he shot several times in the direction of McDonald, who reportedly never fired his weapon.
He remained in the Jefferson County Jail on $200,000 bail on Saturday.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]