A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that he wishes to hear more evidence about whether to increase the bail or modify the release conditions for a Phoenix man accused of killing a fellow motorist in northeast Phoenix last month.
John Stuart, 45, pleaded not guilty in the shooting death of Orville Thomas Beasley, of Scottsdale, a 49-year-old stockbroker who was killed in an alleged confrontation with Stuart Jan. 29.
Stuart was indicted by a grand jury Feb. 13 on charges of second-degree murder and drive-by shooting in Beasley’s death. He remains free on $46,000 bail after Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Timothy Ryan reconfirmed Stuart’s release conditions Wednesday morning. Stuart is required to wear an electronic monitoring device.
The judge scheduled a hearing to be held March 3 so more evidence could be considered, according to Stuart’s attorney, Larry Hammond, who entered the not guilty plea on his client’s behalf.
Stuart’s release caused an outcry among Beasley’s friends and relatives who adamantly said they believe his bail should have been set higher since Stuart allegedly was fleeing at the time of his arrest.
“It’s very sad and frustrating,” said Sara Busby of Mesa, a friend of the Beasley’s who said she knew them through the couple’s support of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, a popular Valley band. “It’s really disappointing that he can go home and sleep in his own bed when Rebecca Beasley will never have her husband next to her in bed again.”
Witnesses said Stuart shot Beasley in the face after he and Stuart exchanged words while sitting at a red light at the intersection of Pinnacle Peak Road and Tatum Boulevard the evening of Jan. 29, hours after Beasley and his wife left the FBR Open, according to Phoenix police.
While driving west on Pinnacle Peak Road, a vehicle sped up behind Beasley’s, crossed into the eastbound lane and passed him. Beasley flashed his lights at Stuart’s vehicle before they sat side-by-side at a red light and Beasley got out of his vehicle and approached Stuart, according to court documents. Stuart is contending self-defense.
Witnesses told authorities they saw Stuart shoot Beasley in the face and they followed him home. Stuart picked up $2,000 at his home and allegedly tried to flee, according to Phoenix police.
Stuart was freed on $46,000 bail hours after his arrest, despite the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office requesting $500,000 bail.
Hammond said he does not believe Stuart’s release conditions should be changed and that his client is continuing to wear an electronic monitoring device.
“There’s nothing else I’ve seen, yet, that would indicate there’s more evidence in the case,” Hammond said.
John Doyle, an attorney representing Beasley’s wife, Rebecca Beasley, was unavailable for comment.