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IMPERIAL • Heather R. Beckley’s boyfriend hit her in the head six times with a hammer and left her body in a wooded area near Imperial where the couple had gone to make methamphetamine, authorities say.

Beckley’s boyfriend, Brian E. Smith, 32, is being held on $1 million bail after being charged Thursday with second-degree murder. Beckley, 34, lived in Pevely.

According to court documents, Smith killed Beckley on Sunday in woods near Butler Valley Road.

Brian E. Smith and Heather R. Beckley

A man who directed Smith and Beckley to the woods as a place to make meth told investigators he later saw Smith with blood on his face. He asked about it and Smith told the man he hit Beckley six times with a hammer, police say.

Smith then drove to a carwash and cleaned blood from his vehicle, court documents allege.

Police didn’t disclose a possible motive for the killing.

Detectives had sought charges of first-degree murder, but prosecutors issued the second-degree murder charge. Second-degree murder is knowingly killing someone, while first-degree murder is knowingly killing someone with deliberation, however brief.

The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis was called in to investigate Beckley’s death after a passing motorist spotted Beckley’s body about 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, near Butler Valley Road and Antonia Valley Court.

Capt. Mark Tulgetske of the Herculaneum Police Department was the lead officer for the Major Case Squad. He said about 20 detectives worked on the case. Police arrested Smith on drug charges on the first day of their probe.

The charges say Smith lives in the 9900 block of Arthur Lane in St. Louis County.

Asked if Smith and Beckley were using or making meth, Tulgetske said: “I believe everyone may have been.”

Sheriff Oliver “Glenn” Boyer said the meth investigation continues.

In court papers, Detective Bruce Gerard said that Beckley and Smith had met with a man at a home on Old Lemay Ferry Road near Imperial Sunday “under the pretense that they would manufacture methamphetamine.”

Smith got a hammer from the man’s property, according to court documents. The man showed them to the wooded area. Smith and Beckley then dropped the man back off at his home and returned to the secluded spot where Beckley’s body was later found.

 

 

 

 

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/police-meth-maker-kills-girlfriend-near-imperial-with-six-hammer/article_3bfd441e-1180-592c-ae03-965617303565.html

 

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