Man in fight over barking dogs found guilty of murder

Posted at 8:11 PM, December 16, 2021 and last updated 2:19 PM, July 24, 2023

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — A man has been convicted of fatally stabbing his neighbor at a southeast Washington motel in a fight over barking dogs.

Earnace Beasley Jr. denied stabbing William Bepler, 38, during the May 9, 2020, confrontation. But jurors in Beasley’s Benton County Superior Court trial didn’t believe him, returning a guilty verdict Wednesday for first-degree murder during a burglary, The Tri-City Herald reported.

The jury also found that Beasley, 67, was armed with a deadly weapon during the crime, which will lead to additional prison time. He’s being held without bail pending sentencing set for January.

The jury deliberated over two days after the trial, including jury selection, lasted about a week.

Beasley was in his motel room at the Economy Inn in Richland when Bepler’s girlfriend yelled at Beasley’s chihuahua-type dogs to stop barking. Both men were residents there. Beasley reportedly yelled back at her.

Bepler came out to yell at Beasley, returned to his room for a spatula and went to hit Beasley in the face, court documents said.

Prosecutors said Beasley then got a pocket knife, forced his way into Bepler’s room, climbed on him and hit him, according to court documents.

Beasley told Richland police he did not have a knife and that he “blacked out,” documents said.

Bepler had emergency surgery for a stab wounds but later died.

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