Charges: Richmond Man Targeted Cold Spring Family Because of Race
ST. CLOUD -- Stearns County prosecutors have added additional charges against a Richmond man accused of intentionally crashing a vehicle into a Cold Spring family's home.
According to the criminal complaint, 32-year-old Benton Beyer was motivated by bias after learning his girlfriend had cheated on him with a black man. Court records show Beyer was paranoid that she was continuing to cheat on him and became angry toward black men and used racial slurs repeatedly.
Beyer's girlfriend worked near the home of the biracial family whose home was damaged. He became increasingly paranoid that his girlfriend was sleeping with one of the family's sons.
The criminal complaint outlines several incidents of Beyer allegedly vandalizing the family's property and stalking them. The family was granted a harassment restraining order which court records allege Beyer violated a number of times.
On July 24th, Beyer is accused of stealing an SUV, pointing it at the family's home, using a large piece of granite to hold down the accelerator and fleeing the scene as it crashed into the house. He was arrested a short while later near Alexander Park.
Cold Spring Police, with help from the FBI and the Stearns County Sheriff's Office, determined through their investigation that the facts establish multiple crimes and show Beyer's motive, intent, and bias behind his crimes.
Court records show the investigation determined a stuffed bear found in the stolen SUV with a noose around its neck was not associated with Beyer. Multiple witnesses and the vehicle's owner told investigators the bear was hanging from the passenger grab bar for multiple years and was related to a prior relationship of his. Swabs from the bear showed a mixture of DNA from five or more individuals but not Beyer.
Beyer is now charged with two counts of felony stalking, two counts of 1st-degree property damage, one count of 4th-degree property damage, three counts of violating a harassment restraining order, two counts of 2nd-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, non-firearm, and theft.
In his court appearance Monday, Beyer demanded a speedy trial which the Stearns County Attorney's Office says is scheduled to begin October 11th.
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