Wednesday, January 03, 2001

Police link triple slaying to drugs




By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP — One of the three young men killed Monday night inside a Bonneville Lane house was a Mount Healthy high school student whose family says went there only because he needed a haircut.

        Gabriel Beckham, 16, was the youngest of the three who died when somebody pumped multiple bullets into the victims' heads just before 10 p.m. Gabriel was in a downstairs bedroom, police said, with the other two victims, Miko Carter, 22, and Clarence Julian, 19, both of whom had drug histories.

[photo] Three people died in this house Monday night in Springfield Township.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
        “He was in the prime of his life and it got snuffed out,” said Gabriel's uncle. He asked that his name not be used because of fears for his family's safety because the three suspects in the killings remain at large.

        He said his nephew was a football player for Mount Healthy until his grades made him ineligible this year. The uncle's claim about Gabriel going to the house for a haircut could not be confirmed by police.

        Clarence Julian's brother Johnny, 17, was hurt in the spree. Police originally said he had been stabbed, but now said he suffered cuts from flying glass. He was treated at University Hospital and released and is the only survivor. He was upstairs in the living room, away from the killing scene that left the shooters, police said, covered in blood.

        A woman called 911 from inside the house. She said she thought she heard a struggle, maybe gunshots and someone say: “Please don't kill me.”

        Springfield Township police said Tuesday that the killings weren't random, that they were related to some previous drug-related problems in a house well-known to police. Investigators found money, crack and marijuana inside — they won't say how much — but also said robbery of more money and drugs also could be a factor.

        Mr. Carter and Clarence Julian have previous drug convictions, Hamilton County court records show. Mr. Julian admitted in June 1999 to charges of crack possession and preparing cocaine for sale. He was sentenced to four years in prison, but did no serve that long.

        Mr. Carter was arrested in March near the home where he died, for having pot in his car. He paid $163 in fines and costs.

        Capt. Dave Schaefer said the killers were invited to the Julian house by some of the people who live there. The brothers lived there with their widowed mother, who police said was playing bingo at the time of the shootings.

        “These people were there because they wanted them to be there,” the captain said.

        Police are familiar with the Julian house. Six years ago, a 12-year-old girl was shot in the abdomen when she opened the front door. Police said the man convicted in that shooting was there looking for the girl's brother. The girl, a relative of the Julian family, survived.

        The Julians' neighborhood, called Lexington Heights, is “middle class ... demographically minority neighborhood” with no unusual amount of trouble, said Township Administrator Mike Hinnenkamp.

        Mr. Hinnenkamp said residents of the neighborhood have expressed concerns about commonplace issues, such as the need for more activities for children, and concerns about speeding and traffic on Meredith Drive.

        “It's generally a quiet neighborhood,” he said.

        Not Monday night. Police cars from Springfield Township, Greenhills and Mount Healthy lined the streets. Neighbors, with coats over their nightgowns, braved the cold to see what was going on.

        Chief Heimpold told Gabriel's family he planned to meet with them and other family members today to brief them on what investigators know. That put Gabriel's uncle somewhat at ease.

        “This is heinous,” he said. “I'm just hopeful they bring these people to justice.”

        The suspects might be driving a gray or green Geo.

        Police ask that anyone with information about the killings contact them at 729-1300.

        Reporter Walt Schaefer contributed to this report
       

       



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