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story.lead_photo.caption Donald Steven Beckwith Jr., 32, of Yellville - Photo by Marion County sheriff's office

A Yellville man was found guilty Wednesday in a double homicide and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

A Marion County jury found Donald Steven Beckwith Jr., 33, guilty of manslaughter and second-degree murder in the Sept. 1 shooting deaths of his uncle and grandfather.

The jury deliberated four hours before reaching the decision Wednesday afternoon, said Prosecuting Attorney David Ethredge.

Ethredge said Beckwith was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the killings, 10 years on the manslaughter charge and 10 years for committing the two felonies with a firearm. He said the sentences are to run consecutively.

Beckwith's trial began Monday in Marion County Circuit Court in Yellville. He went to trial facing two counts of first-degree murder, but the jury found him guilty of lesser offenses.

According to an affidavit for an arrest warrant, Beckwith admitted to shooting his uncle, David DeWayne White, after a fight.

Beckwith told police that he accidentally shot his grandfather, William Henry White, when the elder man tried to intervene.

Police found David White with multiple gunshot wounds and William White with one gunshot wound in the chest, according to the affidavit.

Police interviewed Beckwith's 9-year-old son, who witnessed the shooting. He told police his great-uncle had "punched" his dad, according to the affidavit.

The boy said his father got up, went inside and got a pistol that his grandfather kept in the living room. Beckwith then went outside and began shooting his uncle, according to the affidavit.

Police found eight spent 9mm shells at the scene.

Beckwith told police that after he finished shooting, he went inside to check on his son. Beckwith sat down in a green recliner for a short period of time before telling his son to get his things together because he was going to be staying with his mother, according to the affidavit.

Ethredge said Beckwith testified that his uncle had abused him for some time.

Under Arkansas Code Annotated 5-10-104(a), a person commits manslaughter if he "causes the death of another person under circumstances that would be murder, except that he or she causes the death under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there is reasonable excuse."

Under Arkansas Code Annotated 5-10-103, a person commits second-degree murder if he "knowingly causes the death of another person under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life; or with the purpose of causing serious physical injury to another person, the person causes the death of any person."

State Desk on 05/16/2019

Print Headline: Arkansas man guilty of 2 slayings; killed uncle, accidentally shot grandfather, he told police


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