Who is Nathan Beal? Washington man, 36, who killed ex-wife shot dead homeless camper to 'practice' murder
SPOKANE, WASHINGTON: Just months before a Washington man fatally shot his ex-wife, he had allegedly killed a homeless man "as practice", claim authorities. According to prosecutor Dale Nagy, the murder suspect shot the homeless man in the head in April 2020. The victim's body was reportedly found in a Spokane alleyway in Washington state. Four months later, the suspect, identified as Nathan Beal, was charged with premeditated murder for killing his ex-wife Mary Schaffer in August 2020.
In the fall of 2020, prosecutors had tried to merge the two murders so Beal would be tried for both cases at once. The request was however denied by the judge who ruled it would unfairly prejudice the jury.
Florida man allegedly murdered 'missing' wife, 4 kids, stored their bodies for weeks before dumping them across state lines
Man who broke his wife’s neck and torched her beyond recognition released early from prison
Who is Nathan O Beal?
A 36-year-old Washington State resident, Nathan Beal is believed to have killed a homeless man as practice ahead of the murder of his ex-wife, Schaffer. Prosecutor Nagy alleged in court on Friday, May 7, that Beal had shot the homeless man, identified as 30-year-old Andrew Michael Bull, in the head on April 3, 2020. Nagy claimed authorities "believe the killing (of Bull) was done by Mr Beal as practice".
Beal had originally been arrested for the August 8, 2020, killing of 32-year-old Schaffer and has since been charged with first-degree premeditated murder. He remains in custody on $1M bond but hasn't been charged yet in connection with Bull's death, as per online court records. Spokesman-Review, who broke the story about Nagy's allegations, also wrote that the prosecutor had alleged last week in court that Beal became a suspect in Bull's murder after a jailhouse informant had come forward saying Beal admitted to it. The informant claimed Beal had admitted he shot Bull because he was "curious", adding that it was for "practice".
How were Bull and Schaffer murdered?
Additionally, 9mm shell casings from both the murders were traced to a gun that was bought by Beal's unidentified then-girlfriend. The gun was bought in the months leading up to Bull's murder with money Beal had paid her for the purpose. Both Schaffer and Bull died from gunshot wounds to the head. While Bull was found lying on a bicycle on the ground right in front of a loading dock, Schaffer was found slumped over in her car in the Browne's Addition neighborhood. Cops reported she was there to pick up the couple's children from Beal. The car was parked right across the street from Beal's apartment. What was even more suspicious was that Schaffer feared for her life at the hands of her ex, just months before he allegedly killed her.
According to court documents, Schaffer had told her brother she wanted to be careful when she picked up the children from Beal's because he wanted her dead and "he said he had a bullet for her head" and her boyfriend. Beal had also staked out a homeless encampment with his two children, just months before the killings. Nagy also alleged that Beal had made comments about killing people camped in the shelter.
Beal has pleaded not guilty in the murder of Schaffer and his trial is set to begin on October 4, 2021. A potential motive for Schaffer's killing hasn't yet been revealed by the police.