SCSU Professor murder suspect identified as Jason Beckman

Kyle Klausing
Redwood Falls Gazette

The suspect in the shooting death of a SCSU professor has been identified as Redwood Falls resident Jason Robert Beckman, age 45. He appeared in court on Tuesday he was arrested and charged with three felony counts. The charges are as follows:

Count 1 – Felony Theft of a Motor Vehicle 

Count 2 – Possession of Firearm and/or Ammunition by Felony Convicted of a Prior  Crime of Violence 

Count 3 – Murder in the Second Degree (Intentionally Causing the Death of Another  Person) 

Investigation showed Beckman had no apparent connection with either the St. Cloud / Waite Park area, or with the murder victim. During the investigation, officers located a broken pickup owned by a friend of Beckman’s, who acknowledged loaning it to Beckman to move tools from “down south”.

According to court documents, Beckman apparently stole an Audi sedan after the borrowed pickup broke down in Waite Park. The Audi had been reported stolen earlier that morning, and was located by investigators near the scene of the murder. Surveillance cameras picked up Beckman at a nearby convenience store at 3:24 a.m., and looking over cars in a Kia parking lot about two hours later. 

After a man with a handgun had been observed at the Beaver Island Trail area, responding officers arrested Beckman carrying a .45 handgun that had been reported stolen from Red Wing. Beckman is legally barred from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his multiple felony convictions of crimes of violence. The arresting officers reported that Beckman mades statements that appeared to indicate an awareness of guilt, as well as to having used controlled substances.

In a taped statement, Beckman told investigators he admitted stealing the Audi, and crashed it in a nearby residential neighborhood. He claimed that when he knocked on a house door for help, he believed the man who answered the door, Dr. Edward Anthony Ward, a business school professor in St. Cloud, had earlier threatened him. Beckman admitted pulling out his handgun and shooting Ward twice. Ward was declared dead at the St. Cloud hospital.

Judge Frederick L. Grunke set bail at $2 million unconditional, or $1 million with conditions. A competency examination was ordered, and the criminal matter will be temporarily suspended  pending that examination. Bail and all conditions of release remain in place. 

The St. Cloud Police Department, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension,  and Waite Park Police Department did the investigation that resulted in the arrest  and charges in this case.