AZTEC — Sentencing for Jacob Beach, 21, stemming from a manslaughter conviction has been delayed for 60 days to allow time for a pre-sentence evaluation.
Judge William Birdsall ordered the sentencing be delayed 60 days during a hearing in District Court on Wednesday.
Defense attorney Eric Morrow requested that his client be sentenced to some combination of probation and in-patient treatment. Assistant District Attorney Steven Johnston requested that the maximum sentence be imposed.
Birdsall instead ordered that the sentencing be delayed 60 days, at Morrow's request, so that a pre-sentence evaluation could be conducted.
Beach was arrested in November 2012 and charged with second-degree murder for allegedly shooting Sharolyn Keown, 18, to death on Nov. 5, 2012. Beach reached a plea agreement on June 20 and was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, a third-degree felony which carries a maximum sentence of six years imprisonment and $5,000 in fines.
Birdsall said the case was unusual. He had presided over hearings involving Keown as a children's court judge.
"She was a problem child," Birdsall remembered.
Alisha Shafer told a judge at the sentencing hearing for Beach that her daughter lived 18 years, one month and 30 days before she was shot dead at the Hummingbird Trailer Park in November 2012.
"She had enrolled to go back to school," Shafer said. "She did not want to be another Farmington kid who ended up a junkie."
Keown's supporters at the District 11 courthouse were outnumbered by Beach's friends and family. Keown had confronted Beach on Nov. 5, 2012, over unwanted sexual advances she said he made weeks before, according to a probable cause statement. Friends of Keown told police the advances were attempted sexual assault.
Beach has been held at the San Juan County Detention Center on a $500,000 cash-only bond since the shooting. Birdsall said that with time served, Beach still faces about 4 1/2 years of incarceration.
Friends, family and former Christian counselors spoke on Beach's behalf. They described him as a good kid who got mixed up with the wrong crowd.
"Jake has a lot of character," Traci Beach, his mother, said. "Jake is a good person. Jake knows no strangers. Jake gets along with everybody."
Traci Beach said she sympathized with Keown's family. "There are no winners here," she said.
Jacob Beach told the judge that he grew up in a Christian home with strict parents, but lost his way. He said he now recognized the value of life.
"I am glad you turned your life to God, Jake, I really am," Shafer said. "But one of God's commandments is 'thou shalt not kill."
According to court records, a new sentencing date has not been set.