Convicted murderer Nathan Beal sentenced to an additional 35 years for killing homeless man
March 1, 2023 Updated Wed., March 1, 2023 at 6:20 p.m.
A man convicted of murdering his ex-wife was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday morning for also killing a man in downtown Spokane in 2020.
A jury convicted Nathan O. Beal of first-degree murder last month for shooting and killing Andrew Bull April 3, 2020. The killing was characterized by prosecuting attorneys as a “practice run” before Beal killed his ex-wife, Mary Schaffer, in August of the same year. Schaffer was in her car outside Beal’s Browne’s Addition apartment to pick up their children when he shot her.
Bull, a 29-year-old homeless man, was shot once in the head in a downtown alleyway near the 900 block of Second Avenue. Beal was not suspected of the crime until killing his ex-wife .
Beal, 38, was sentenced last year to 31 years for killing Schaffer. His most recent sentence will start after he completes serving the time for Schaffer’s killing.
“Andrew wasn’t just some homeless guy,” Jennalee Bunting, the youngest of Bull’s siblings, said in between sobs. “He had a family and we loved him very much. I lost not only my brother, but my best friend.”
Bunting said she was tasked with delivering the news of her brother’s death to the rest of the family.
“I never thought I would have to experience this,” she said.
Bull’s body was discovered by police shortly after midnight on April 3, 2020. Police did not have any leads until ballistic evidence from Schaffer’s murder connected the two killings.
Beal, who has been in jail since August 2020, did not make a statement in court Wednesday.
Attorneys argued over whether Beal’s 35-year sentence should run concurrently with his last sentence or if he must serve both terms consecutively.
“It’s like saying you get a break for being a serial killer and not a mass killer,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dale Nagy said in court Wednesday.
Spokane County Superior Court Judge Michelle Szambelan said she thought long and hard about Beal’s sentencing.
“This can only be described as a heinous murder of a vulnerable person,” Szambelan said.
The prosecuting attorneys’ assertion that Bull was “hunted” down by Beal was not “off base,” Szambelan said.
“A homeless person is not a person you can dispose with impunity,” Szambelan told Beal. “There has to be accountability.”
Bull’s family said they were satisfied with the sentence.
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