01STOCK_GAVEL

JANESVILLE

A man accused of killing his 97-year-old relative June 21 told people he saw demons and had “killed a saint,” according to a criminal complaint issued in Rock County Court on Friday.

Jamie B. Beggs, 37, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Kathleen Beggs of 11104 W. Mineral Point Road, town of Center.

At an initial court appearance Friday, Assistant District Attorney Alex Goulart said Jamie, who was living with Kathleen at the time of her death, is now homeless.

The criminal complaint said the medical examiner determined that Kathleen died of “sharp-force injury of the neck and manual strangulation.”

The complaint does not say what kind of sharp object was used.

Court commissioner Stephen Meyer imposed a $100,000 cash bond and said he didn’t expect Jamie would be able to post it.

Two relatives asked the court to impose an even higher bond, saying the grievous offense warranted it.

“My grandmother was the only person that saw good in Jamie, and he destroyed her,” said a woman appearing in the livestreamed hearing, identified as Kate Fitzgerald.

“I understand that someone is innocent until proved guilty, but with his history of violence and not showing up to court, I feel bond should be set upwards of $250,000, and I spoke to several family members, and they agree,” Fitzgerald said.

A man identified as Ryan Beggs said he agreed.

“What difference does it make if it’s $100,000 or $250,000, except for what it looks like in the newspaper,” state public defender Frank Raff argued. “He has no money to post and will be in custody until the case is over if the judge sets cash bail.”

Raff suggested the district attorney’s office preferred an “insanely high” bail to ensure Beggs would not be released instead of going through the more complicated and difficult procedure to ask a judge to hold him without bail.

Goulart had argued that $100,000 was justified because Jamie had failed to make court appearances in the past, he has a criminal record that includes domestic violence, the offense was very violent, he had no stable residence and because the state’s case is so strong.

“This isn’t a whodunit-type case,” Goulart said.

Meyer, noting Beggs’ reported statements about demons and the victim being a martyr, said Beggs “represents a danger to the public that I can’t see could be much higher.”

Meyer said the danger he poses justified the high bail.

The following is the series of events the morning of Kathleen’s death, as described in the complaint.

A man that sheriff’s deputies have described as a relative, and who is called Victim 2 in the complaint, came to the rural residence, something he said he did each morning to take a newspaper from the mailbox to Kathleen.

Jamie came out of the house and asked Victim 2 if he could see the demons. Victim 2 entered the house, saw a couch had been moved to the kitchen and heard Jamie say there were demons in the house.

Victim 2 searched for Kathleen, found her body on the garage floor with blankets and coats covering her. At some point he called 911 and removed a coat that covered her face. A large amount of blood was on the garage floor.

When sheriff’s deputies arrived, Jamie was holding his head with both hands, saying, “The demons are in my head” and “She couldn’t take it.”

Deputies took Jamie into custody, initially labeling him a person of interest.

Jamie reportedly told a detective at the sheriff’s office that he wanted to remain silent until he had a lawyer present. But some time later, as a detective came to take a DNA sample, Jamie made “spontaneous utterances.”

The detective taking the sample said they were investigating a homicide, and Jamie responded, “There’s no homicide” and then made statements laced with vulgarities to the effect that “she” was a martyr and a saint and that he had saved her soul.

“Really? And you’re charging me with murder?” Jamie added.

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Tuesday, July 6.

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