Hike sentence

Man who ‘knocked out’ elderly mother, grabbed 911, gets life sentence – Reuters

TUALATIN, Ore. — A mentally ill Oregon man who fatally beat his mother in 2018 before calling 911 and complaining about her to the dispatcher has been sentenced to life in prison for killing her.

Garth Patrick Beams, 52, of Tualatin, was convicted on August 25 of the second degree murder of Wendy Jane Henson, 74. According to Washington County prosecutors, he was also convicted of unlawful use of a weapon.

Beams will be eligible for parole after serving 25 years.

“This was a cruel and unprovoked attack on a disabled elderly woman,” Washington County Assistant District Attorney Rayney Meisel said in closing arguments.

Tualatin police responded on the afternoon of July 19, 2018, to a 911 call from the home on southwest 72nd Avenue where Henson lived with his two sons, Garth Beams and Michael Beams. The caller was Garth Beams.

Beams told a dispatcher that he “hit his mom” with a baseball bat.

“He remained on the phone with dispatchers for the next 15 minutes, detailing his numerous complaints about his mother,” prosecutors said in a statement.

When asked if he would provide assistance to the victim, Beams replied that he would not.

“I don’t know if she’ll live, but I’m not really concerned about her medical care,” Beams said, according to audio of the call obtained by the Oregonian.

Henson was rushed to University Hospital of Oregon Health & Science, where she later died of multiple blunt head injuries.

The newspaper reported that court records show Beams was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1995. He was under guardianship, and his mother was in charge of overseeing his care and finances.

Records indicate that tensions began to escalate between mother and son in the months before Henson’s death. Tensions stemmed from Henson’s declining health and increased need for personal care.

Beams underwent a psychiatric evaluation in 2020 at Oregon State Hospital, where he was found fit to stand trial, the Oregonian reported.

>> Read more trending news

At his brother’s sentencing, Michael Beams delivered a heartbreaking victim impact statement.

“Garth’s crime shattered what was left of our family,” Michael Beams told the court. “There are only broken pieces to pick up. I feel stuck in a boxing match, struggling with bitterness and outrage.

Memories of her mother’s sudden death are a daily nightmare.

“Besides dealing with grief, leaving home was economically implausible for me,” Beams said. “In a bad twist of fate, every day to this day I have to walk past where (my brother) shot mum.”

Henson was a former college screenwriting professor and published author. According to prosecutors, his 2018 short story Honor Song was adapted from one of his award-winning screenplays.

Just days before his murder, Henson was celebrating the upcoming release of a second short story, Yonkheer.

“Ms. Henson had a passion for the arts,” authorities said in a statement. “She loved talking about movies, the writing and the actors who brought them to life. She had a recurring film review column in Tualatin Life titled “Now Playing”.

Jonathan Crane, the founder of Tualatin Life, wrote after the murder that Henson “defined local exceptionalism”.

“She was a local treasure who quietly contributed to her community by sharing her love, her intrigue, for the world of cinema,” Crane wrote. “She willingly shared her ideas, educated those who were willing to listen, and frequently encouraged others to engage in screenwriting and join the literary scene to which she was so well connected.

“Wendy Jane Henson will be greatly missed.”