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Second shooting suspect gets five years

December 10, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

The second suspect in the March 23 shooting death of a New Jersey man in Hagerstown was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison for being an accessory after the crime.

Scott Eugene Beamer, 34, told Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick Wright that he feared for his life the night that Bobby Lavaughn Johnson fired a single shot into the head of Michael Eric Mackason Jr.

"I'm sorry I was a part of something like this but I did what I felt I had to do," Beamer said.

Beamer helped Johnson get Mackason out of his car, disposed of the murder weapon and gave Johnson a place to stay and a way out of town, according to Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Duane Gigeous.

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The Johnson-Beamer prosecutions were difficult for the state after witnesses began disappearing or changing their stories, Gigeous said.

"We decided to go after the man who pulled the trigger," Gigeous said, referring to Johnson.

On Oct. 6, Johnson, who admitted being that trigger man, was sentenced to serve 12 years in prison for second-degree murder.

On the night of the shooting, Johnson and Beamer drove to the intersection of North Potomac Street and West North Avenue, looking to buy crack cocaine, police said. They met Mackason, who got in the back seat of Johnson's car to make a drug deal.

The deal went bad, and Johnson and Beamer told police they saw Mackason pulling a gun from his pants pocket. At that point, Johnson shot him once in the head. The .380-caliber bullet, fired about a foot from Mackason's face, entered near the tip of his nose and lodged in his brain.

Johnson and Beamer dragged Mackason's body from the car and dumped it in the street, police said.

Mackason, 20, of Long Branch, N.J., was found face down on West North Avenue. Police found a pager, $76 in cash and nine $20 pieces of crack cocaine on Mackason's body.

Police said people who knew Mackason described him as a known drug dealer who carried a gun for protection.

Johnson was picked up on unrelated warrants in Bartow, Fla., and returned to Maryland last summer.

Beamer was apprehended by West Virginia State Police in Falling Waters, W.Va., last summer, police said.

Beamer and Johnson each were charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, general robbery, robbery with a deadly weapon, wearing or transporting a handgun in a motor vehicle, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, use of a handgun in a commission of a violent crime, attempted robbery, attempted armed robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

"You put yourself - through your own lifestyle - in danger of harm, to you and others," Wright said.

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