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Bessey waives advisement of charges

Posted: Thursday, Jun 20th, 2013

Daniel M. Bessey

Courier staff writer

DEL NORTE — A man accused of killing a Monte Vista couple last year waived a formal advisement of the charges against him during his first appearance on Wednesday in 12th Judicial District Court.

Prosecutors have charged 42-year-old Daniel M. Bessey with 20 offenses, including two counts of first-degree murder, for the February 2012 shooting deaths of John Salazar and Sarah Beasley.

Authorities turned their attention to Bessey at the start of their investigation into the murders because he is the biological father of Beasley’s youngest child. But they testified during his preliminary hearing last month they focused on other possible suspects, as well.

Special Prosecutor Jack Roth said on May 17 that authorities carefully vetted each and every tip they received, and noted the case is still being investigated.

Earlier in their investigation, police heard from Salazar’s family, who told them the defendant was upset about child custody issues.

However, Deputy Public Defender Jill Allen told a Rio Grande County Court judge last month that Bessey and Beasley got along well with each other. She noted they sent each other text messages, which suggested they were planning a future together.

One important part of the prosecution’s case against Bessey hinges on the discovery of his flashlight just a few feet away from Salazar’s body.

Bessey claims he left the flashlight behind when he repaired a leaky drain valve on Beasley’s vehicle.

According to investigators, he said Beasley called or texted him to let him know the device was there.

But police reported they found no records of any related communication between the two. Nor was there any indication someone had phoned him from another number, investigators say.

One of Beasley’s children told investigators that he and his brothers were playing in the family’s yard the day after Bessey claimed he worked on the car and did not notice the flashlight.

Moreover, Beasley’s family members gave a different account of her activities on the day Bessey said he was repairing the car.

Bessey, who lived in Saguache at the time of the shootings, remains in custody; Rio Grande County Court Judge Patrick Hayes, Jr., previously set the defendant’s bail amount at $1 million, including $25,000 cash up front.

He will be back in court next Tuesday, June 25, when Twelfth Judicial District Judge Martin Gonzales is scheduled to review pending motions in the case.

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