A Middle Georgia man was sentenced to life without parole Friday for shooting and killing a man on Super Bowl Sunday in 2018, according to multiple media reports.
While he was in jail, he also put a hit out on his ex-wife to attempt to stop her from testifying against him.
Keith Beddingfield Jr., 27, of Gray, was found guilty of malice murder, felony murder and armed robbery in the Feb. 4, 2018 homicide of 33-year-old Javaris Antoine Brown, Macon-based news station WGXA reported.
Beddingfield had texted Brown the day of the shooting before they met near Carling Avenue and Napier Avenue, the Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office said. Beddingfield’s then-wife was also allegedly there.
The woman, Karen Beddingfield, stayed in the couple’s Ford Explorer as her husband joined Brown in his vehicle, prosecutors said. However, she then allegedly heard shouting and multiple gunshots.
Brown, who had recently lost his job and was making money by selling marijuana among other drugs, believed he had been set up by someone named “Keith” the day before his murder, Brown’s girlfriend said in court. She testified that he had been robbed of about $800 worth of drugs at gunpoint the day prior to the shooting.
After the shooting, Keith Beddingfield jumped back into the Explorer, and they drove off, prosecutors said. However, Karen Beddingfield allegedly returned to the scene after they realized he had left his phone in Brown’s car.
A passing motorist later found Brown’s body in the driver’s seat of his parked car. Keith Beddingfield was arrested days later.
Karen Beddingfield, whose legal name is currently Karen Rena Morton-Beddingfield, was later arrested and charged in the case, WGXA reported.
While in jail, Keith Beddingfield was among 33 inmates indicted for allegedly racketeering and running a gang from inside the Bibb County jail, AJC.com previously reported. The suspects were accused of using contraband cellphones to “continue street gang operations in the community from behind bars.”
Investigators had tapped a cellphone they knew was inside the jail and listened to one of Keith Beddingfield's phone calls, prosecutors said. On the call, he conspired to have his then-wife, Karen Beddingfield, killed for ratting him out and to prevent her from testifying, which she did Wednesday, the newspaper reported.
Zachary Hansen, a Georgia native, covers economic development and commercial real estate for the AJC. He's been with the newspaper since 2018 and enjoys diving into complex stories that affect people's lives.