FARMINGTON — A young man accused of murder unsuccessfully asked a judge Wednesday to reduce his bond so he could look for work and go to church.

Jacob Beach, 20, is being held at San Juan County Adult Detention Center on a $500,000 cash-only bond. Police arrested him Nov. 6 and charged him with an open count of murder for allegedly shooting and killing Sharolyn Keown, 18, on Nov. 5.

Beach and his attorney, Cosme Ripol, asked Magistrate Judge Stanley King to change the bond to cash or surety, which would have meant Beach could post $50,000 through a bail bondsman and be released pending trial.

"I wouldn't even mind being on house arrest," Beach said.

King considered Beach's ties to the community; Beach's parents and family live near San Juan Country Club in Farmington and his father, Matt Beach, works for Webb Automotive Group.

"I grew up here. I was born in Farmington," Beach told the judge. "I'll be attending church every Sunday."

Deputy District Attorney Robert Gentile said his office was against changing Beach's bond because of the severity of the charges.

King agreed and left the bond the same.

Beach was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing in front of King on Wednesday.

Ripol asked and received a continuance so he can hire an investigator to interview witnesses. Beach's preliminary hearing is now scheduled for Dec. 13 at 1 p.m.


Advertisement

"It's a serious case but it's a very interesting one that will probably end up being tried," Ripol said. "So I need to dot my i's and cross my t's."

Ripol said his client will have a strong defense against the charges but didn't disclose his strategy.

"The public needs to know that Jacob Beach has an excellent defense. This matter has to go trial and I feel very, very good about the possibility of him being found not guilty," Ripol said. "This is not a romance-gone-bad case. It's a methamphetamine-drug case."

Beach was a former Piedra Vista High School student and told the judge he earned his high school diploma at San Juan College. He has wavy, red hair and smiled at his family in court several times during his short appearance on Wednesday.

"I like Jacob Beach. He's a very intelligent and perceptive young man," Ripol said.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Keown's funeral service was held at Cope Memorial Chapel and she was buried at Flora Vista Cemetery.

Laurel Keown, Sharolyn's grandmother, said the services went well and the family was relieved to learn a man has been arrested and will face a murder charge.

The Keowns didn't know who Beach was until they learned of his arrest.

"I don't know him from Adam, but I'm glad they got him," she said.

Keown's family said she lived in the mobile home park with a boyfriend near the abandoned lot where she was killed.

On. Nov. 5, Farmington police said Keown confronted Beach near her home. She was upset and slapped Beach because he had allegedly tried to sexually assault her months earlier, according to court documents.

Police said Beach shot Keown once in the chest and fled the scene. Paramedics determined she was dead when they arrived on scene.

Beach was arrested the following evening at the Enchantment Hotel in Aztec.

Police have yet to recover the weapon used in the shooting.