Deputies investigate Golden homicide

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Man shot to death before possible arson attempt

Barry County sheriff's deputies are investigating a homicide case in Golden after a man was found dead in his Arrow Point mobile home after being shot by what Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly believes to be a high-caliber pistol.

According Epperly, Ed Smith, believed to be in his 70s, was found dead in the mobile home after being shot in the head, unclothed and buried in a pile of clothes, at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. Investigators believe Michael Beatty, 49, of Springfield, apprehended while intoxicated less than two hours after the initial call, shot Smith and attempted to set the home on fire.

A close neighbor reported a white Chrysler 300 leaving frantically at about 2-2:30 a.m., nearly wrecking the vehicle while leaving. Epperly said the report was consistent with the time of death, but the neighbor did not hear a gun shot. The neighbor saw the car leave, then return shortly after. Beatty also had bruising on his neck consistent with choking, which Epperly believes is part of the struggle from the altercation.

"He had some time to get some plans put together, and it seems like that's when he decided to burn down the trailer," Epperly said.

A small fire was set in the home, according to Epperly, but was out by the time law enforcement arrived.

Epperly said a .22 rifle was found in the yard, but he believes a different weapon was used in the homicide.

"It could have been a pistol or a rifle, but I don't think the one in the yard was it," he said. "The exit would suggests there was a larger weapon that was used, like a high-caliber pistol."

Smith is set for an autopsy at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, and Epperly hopes the results will give a better picture of the possible weapon.

Epperly said investigators with his office and the Missouri State Highway Patrol will interview Beatty on Wednesday, as he was too intoxicated at the time of arrest for the interview to be completed.

According to court documents, Beatty is wanted in Greene County for failure to appear on Jan. 12 on a misdemeanor charge of third-degree domestic assault.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: