An innocent joke about actress Megan Fox had prompted then-17-year-old Miami boy to fatally shoot his father in the head, a jailhouse informant testified in court Tuesday.
Jason Beckman, now 21 years old, is on trial for allegedly murdering South Miami city commissioner Jay Beckman, 52, in April 2009 while he was in the shower.
Initially, Jason was charged with manslaughter after telling police he accidentally discharged the 12-gauge Browning Citori shotgun by tripping over it.
Patricide: Jason Beckman, 21 (left), is on trial or allegedly murdering his father, South Miami city chief Jay Beckman, 52 (right) in April 2009
However, the charge was later upgraded to first-degree murder when it emerged in the course of the investigation that the teen had admitted to a neighbor that he planned one day to kill his father with the shotgun.
In court Tuesday, Beckman’s inmate Michael Nistal told jurors that just before the deadly shooting, Jason asked his father what he thought about Hollywood starlet Megan Fox.
‘His father told him he [Jason] wouldn’t know what to do with that,’ Nistal recounted to the jurors, according to the Miami Herald.
The seemingly innocent comment uttered by Jason’s father, whom he allegedly hated and talked about killing for years, pushed the 17-year-old over the edge, according to the prosecution.
‘So he went and got a shotgun and blew his head off. He missed his head and shot his face and part of his neck,’ the inmate said.
Nistal added that Jason told him he then poked his father’s body with the weapon to see if he was still alive.
A photo taken of the teen after his arrest shows him standing barefoot in a grey T-shirt with no visible signs of blood on it, which the prosecutors say suggests that Jason made no effort to come to his father’s aid as he lay dying in the blood-spattered bathroom.
Jason Beckman’s defense team, however, insist that the shooting was accidental.
Following his arrest, prosecutors say the teenager came clean about the killing to inmates, including Nistal, at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.
Nistal is serving a seven-year sentence for a burglary spree that culminated in a deadly high-speed chase.
The convicted felon told the court that Beckman planned to use insanity or self-defense to beat the murder rap, and also talked about killing witnesses after the trial.
Jay Beckman, a South Miami city commissioner, was found dead in his Florida home April 12, 2009, after his son called the authorities to say he had accidentally killed him.
During questioning after the killing, Jason told police that he had a ‘love-hate’ relationship with his father, who had been raising him alone since his mother died from cancer in 1998.
Jason told police he went to show his father a shotgun he had just assembled but slipped and fell, causing the shotgun to fire, reported the Miami Herald at the time.
In her opening statement last Wednesday, prosecutor Jessica Dobbins said that Jason kept a ‘hit list’ of people he did not like on a piece of notebook paper, and that his father’s name was at the top, CBS Miami reported.
Defense attorney Tara Kawass responded to the allegations by saying that Jason’s outbursts, in which he talked about wanting to kill his father, could be attributed to his Asperger’s syndrome – a mild form of autism that caused him to say outlandish things and speak out of turn.
Kawass added that his list-keeping was a form of coping with his condition, which made it difficult for him to make friends.
But the attorney insisted that while her client was socially awkward, he was never violent or aggressive, and he did not pull the trigger on purpose on Easter Sunday in 2009.
During testimony on Friday, Jason’s former classmate Jennifer Kaiser told jurors that in the eighth grade she saw the teen bring gun magazines to school, and he once told her that she was on his list, CBS Miami reported.
Armando Torres, another one-time schoolmate of Beckman’s, also testified that he heard him say on multiple occasions that he wanted to kill his father.