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Trial Begins For Man Accused Of Murdering Commissioner Father

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Jason Beckman in a court hearing on November 1, 2013. (Source: CBS4)

Jason Beckman in a court hearing on November 1, 2013. (Source: CBS4)

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Gary Nelson has been a member of the CBS4 News team since Septem...
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South Florida Crime

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The trial of Jason Beckman, accused of murdering his father, South Miami City Commissioner Jay Beckman, got underway Wednesday morning in a Miami courtroom.

Miami-Dade Police said Beckman, who was 17 at the time, used a shotgun to shoot and kill Jay Beckman while the father was showering inside their South Miami home. Attorneys for both sides laid out there opening statements in the trail with autism a factor for both sides.

“He’d been talking about killing his father for as long as anyone can remember,” prosecutor Jessica Dobbins said. “He never made any attempt to try to hide his hatred for his father. This defendant kept a list of people he didn’t like. The name at the top of that list was his fathers.”

Dobbins said Beckman told a friend that he wanted to kill his father and then make it look like self-defense. The prosecution revealed that Beckman used a double-barrel shotgun to kill his father in 2009.

The prosecution said Jason pulled the trigger on the shotgun, “firing at such a close range; he practically blew his father’s face off.”

Jason was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism. Many with the disorder are intelligent, but have difficulty making friends or socializing. Police and prosecutors said Beckman had a list of enemies and his father was at the top of the list.

“Jason always had a serious look on his face, never expressed emotion,” defense attorney Tara Kawass said. He was “different, awkward, always speaking at inappropriate times, saying outlandish things.” But he was, “never violent and never aggressive.”

Kawass said about the list of people he didn’t like, “This is the way Jason coped with his emotions, wrote them down because he couldn’t express his feelings any other way.”

Prosecutors countered that while Jason suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome, “his differences in no way excused his intent to murder his own father.”

Kawass admitted that Jason shot his father, but It was an accident, “Jason did not intentionally kill his father, did not intentionally pull that trigger.”

As testimony got underway, a photograph of the shotgun lying on the bedroom bed in the South Miami home was shown. Jason Beckman lowered his head and appeared to choke up when the prosecution presented another photograph of the bloody shower with his father’s body lying in it.

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