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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Casey Beckham

Prison-bound federal felon adds to record

A Spokane career criminal already headed to federal prison for 15 years pleaded guilty to a slew of felonies in Spokane County this week.

Casey D. Beckham, 34, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but that sentence will run the same time as his federal sentence of 188 months.

Beckham was sentenced in June under the federal Armed Career Criminal Act, which mandates a minimum 15-year prison term for career criminals charged with unlawful firearm possession.

Beckham objected to the classification, saying his burglary convictions didn’t qualify as violent felonies.

Now the longtime drug addict has 15 more felony convictions after Judge Maryann Moreno accepted his guilty pleas Thursday.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of delivery of a controlled substance, five counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of possession of a stolen motor vehicle and single counts of second-degree identity theft, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, second-degree possession of stolen property, attempting to elude a police vehicle and second-degree burglary.

Moreno sentenced him to 120 months in prison and ordered him to pay $1,444 in restitution.

Beckham’s lawyer, Terrence Ryan, said he’ll likely serve about 6 1/2 years of the state sentence. But his federal sentence likely won’t be reduced. He’s to be on probation for 10 years once he’s released.

Beckham was arrested in May 2009 after a day-long SWAT team standoff at a north Spokane apartment complex. He broke through an apartment ceiling and hid in the rafters, where police found him with a pound and a half of methamphetamine and $8,500.

About a dozen stolen firearms were found nearby with a felon, David L. “Cowboy Dave” Harwood, who said he was to sell the guns to Beckham to clear a $600 meth debt. Harwood, 40, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on gun charges in Superior Court in May.

Past coverage:

June 10, 2010: Career criminal in denial gets 15 years

May 28, 2009: Man arrested after seven-hour standoff

Career criminal in denial gets 15 years

A career criminal was ordered to spend 15 years behind bars recently, but not before he argued that he wasn’t actually a career criminal.

Casey D. Beckham felt his burglary convictions didn’t qualify as violent felonies under the federal Armed Career Criminal Act, which mandates a minimum 15-year prison term for career criminals charged with unlawful firearm possession. Federal prosecutors cited his three second-degree burglary convictions and one first-degree burglary conviction.

Beckham argued that because he drove the burglar away from the scene instead of entering the building, his first-degree burglary conviction didn’t qualify. He also said he didn’t know about the 15-year mandatory minimum until more than a month after his plea agreement.

But, prosecutors argued, “the issue is not whether [the] actual conduct constituted an aggravated felony, but whether the full range of conduct encompassed by [the state statute] constitutes an aggravated felony,” according to court documents filed this week.

U.S. District Court Judge Lonny Suko apparently agreed. He sentenced Beckham to 188 months last week, followed by 10 years probation.

Beckham was arrested in May 2009 after a day-long SWAT team standoff at a north Spokane apartment complex. He broke through an apartment ceiling and hid in the rafters, where police found him with a pound and a half of methamphetamine and $8,500.

About a dozen stolen firearms were found nearby with a felon, David L. “Cowboy Dave” Harwood, who said he was to sell the guns to Beckham to clear a $600 meth debt. Harwood, 40, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on gun charges in Superior Court last month.

Beckham’s also suspected of breaking into a state evidence room in April 2009 and prowling vehicles, including one seized during the Joe Ward investigation. He posted about $250,000 bond on several state charges last fall before he rearrested two weeks later on the federal indictment.

Past coverage:

Feb. 24: Felon’s plea deal calls for 15 years

May 28, 2009: Man arrested after seven-hour standoff

Felon gets 15 years in federal prison

A Spokane felon long considered a threat to the community but never locked up for more than a few years is facing 15 years in federal prison because of stiff drug and firearm sentencing laws.

Casey D. Beckham, 34, (right, and above, playing chess at the jail in 1997) was arrested in May 2009 after a day-long SWAT team standoff at a north Spokane apartment complex.

He broke through an apartment ceiling and hid in the rafters, where police found him with a pound and a half of methamphetamine and $8,500. About a dozen stolen firearms were found in the apartment.

He posted about $250,000 in November but was rearrested about two weeks later. His case was sent to U.S. District Court, where his felon in possession of a firearm charge, coupled with his lengthy criminal record, qualified him as an armed career criminal eligible for the federal mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.

He signed a plea agreement Feb. 12 that gives him 188 months in prison.

“We encourage the prosecutors, the sheriffs and the police chiefs to point out to us folks who are repeat offenders,” said U.S. Attorney Jim McDevitt.

Beckham pleaded guilty to gun and drug charges connected to several firearms and agreed to cooperate with investigators. Five days after he signed the plea agreement, federal prosecutors indicted a man accused of selling Beckham those firearms.

James E. Johnson was charged Feb. 17 with unlawful sale of a stolen firearms, unlawful possession and sale of a stolen firearm and felon in possession of a firearm. Johnson was arrested in a meth lab bust in Bonner County in 1998, according to news archives.

Past coverage: Man arrested after seven-hour standoff

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