Man charged in death of fellow patient at MTMHI - WSMV News 4

Man charged in death of fellow patient at MTMHI

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Kevin Beasley (Photo from Metro PD) Kevin Beasley (Photo from Metro PD)

The man suspected of killing a fellow patient at the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute has been booked at the Metro Jail on a murder warrant.

Kevin Beasley, 23, is charged with the murder of 67-year-old Billy Joe Newman.

Bond for Beasley was set at $500,000, and after he was booked, he was returned to MTMHI, police said.

Newman was at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute after suffering from complications of a stroke, according to Sheri Phillips, an attorney for the Newman family.

According to the Metro Police Department, Beasley struck Newman in the face with his elbow on Aug. 4, knocking him to the ground. Newman died ten days later from his injuries. He hit his head after falling on the floor.

"He had a broken hip, a broken nose and both of his eyes were black," she said.

Phillips said the family needs answers.

"They're just really concerned about how this happened. They're devastated," Phillips said.

Newman was an Army veteran, and had retired from a 40-year career at Trane.

Metro police watched the surveillance tape and then charged Beasley with Newman's murder.

Beasley was being held at MTMHI after a judge found him not guilty by reason of insanity.

In 2011, police said Beasley stole a John Deere ATV and deliberately ran over a man who was sitting on the lawn at an East Nashville park.

He was also charged with using a steak knife to stab a grandmother in the neck as she pushed her granddaughter in a stroller.

According to court files, Beasley had a long history of schizophrenia and severe mental illness, and posed a danger to himself and others.

Newman appears to be another victim who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and now his family wants to know why Beasley was apparently free to mingle with other patients, despite his history of violence.

"That's the question that the family needs to know. He was in a secure facility and they thought he was safe," Phillips said.

"They certainly weren't expecting someone to be in the general population with a history of violence," she said.

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