On Thursday, August 14, Benjamin H. Beck was convicted of second-degree murder after entering a guilty plea in a Washington County district courtroom.
The 40-year-old maximum security inmate reportedly strangled another inmate with a shoestring. Shane Cooper was found strangled to death in his cell at Oak Park Heights. Investigators cited the 30-year-old inmate had been strangled with a shoestring.
The Twin Cities Pioneer Pressreported Beck was supposedly Cooper’s “protector.” However, Beck’s role changed when he learned why Cooper was incarcerated. Back in 2012, Cooper was found guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct when he reportedly raped a preteen girl in St. Louis County.
According to police documentation, Beck’s identification card was found in Cooper’s room where he was killed. Detectives also used surveillance footage to verify Beck’s location at the time of the murder. The footage showed Beck entering Cooper’s cell shortly before the murder took place.
“When he found out why (Cooper) was incarcerated, (Beck) indicated to the agents that he could no longer be a protector of someone who had committed this type of crime and that (Cooper) did not give him a way out,” the complaint said.
Beck also insisted that he worked alone and no other inmates were aware of his actions. The formal complaint stated, “this was a choice that he had made with no other inmates having knowledge of his actions.” Beck has been sentenced to 40 years in prison. The most recent sentence is consecutive to the 2007 prison sentence Beck was already serving for a burglary and assault conviction.
Over the past six months, similar incidents have occurred where child rapists have received harsh treatment in prison for heinous crimes they committed toward children. Although Cooper’s crime was undoubtedly disturbing, do you feel he deserved the fate he faced? Beck openly admitted to the crime he committed and stands firmly behind his reasoning for killing Cooper. Do you feel Beck’s actions were justifiable?
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