ANTRIM — The death of Jason W. Beam early Friday morning was New Hampshire’s 30th homicide death this year, a rate higher than any year since at least 2005.
Beam, 41, was found dead at his home on Gregg Lake Road as firefighters responded to a fire. The N.H. Attorney General’s Office said that an autopsy concluded he died by “multiple sharp and penetrating injuries” to the head, neck and chest.
A juvenile was arrested Friday in connection with the death. The authorities did not release the person’s name, age or other identifying information, citing state laws that make records of juvenile proceedings confidential.
An obituary published in the N.H. Union Leader said Beam was a caring friend and family member who worked for a phone company for nearly 20 years before retiring “to pursue his passion of opening an aquaculture farm.”
“Jason was ingenious with many interests, including aquaponics, music, cars, professional wrestling, martial arts, and day trading,” the obituary says, adding that he spent many hours practicing wrestling moves with his son Jimmy.
Beam is also survived by his wife, Julie L. Patten, and various extended family members.
The 30 people who have died by homicide in New Hampshire this year, a number confirmed by the N.H. Attorney General’s Office, makes 2019 the deadliest year for homicides since in the last decade and a half. According to state statistics published by N.H. Public Radio, no year during that time had more than 25 homicides. The state counted 21 homicides in 2018.
The 30 homicides include two deaths caused by police officers using deadly force, but not the seven motorcyclists killed in a June crash in Randolph. The driver accused of causing the crash, Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, was later charged with negligent homicide.
Prior to Friday, two other juveniles had been charged in connection with homicides this year.
In February, police found 42-year-old Melissa Hatch dead in Madison. Police arrested a juvenile perpetrator, later identified as her son, Keith Dobens, when he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in June. The Conway Daily Sun reported that Dobens, 17 at the time of the murder, was ordered to spend five years in a secure psychiatric facility.
The Attorney General’s Office also announced the arrest of an 11-year-old after the deaths of Lizette and James Eckert in Alton in March.
People under 18 are tried in delinquency proceedings — the equivalent of criminal proceedings for adults, but closed to the public.
Under certain circumstances, a prosecutor can request that a juvenile be tried as an adult, depending on the severity of the offense, the minor’s level of maturity and other factors. When juveniles older than 15 are charged with murder or other extremely serious felonies, there’s a “presumption” they’ll be tried as adults, in open court.
“Essentially, what the Legislature is saying is that, if you’re 15 or older and you commit a murder, you’re likely going to be transferred to superior court and tried as an adult, unless you can overcome the built-in statutory presumption,” said Cheshire County Attorney D. Chris McLaughlin.
If a judge approves the transfer to superior court — where adult felony cases are tried — the juvenile defendant’s identity and other information about the case would become public.
The Monadnock Region has seen one other instance of homicide in 2019, the April 11 shooting deaths of Neal Bolster and Aaliyah Jacobs in Hinsdale. Police charged Derrick Shippee, 28, with the murders before finding him dead of a drug overdose in Vernon, Vt.
The Hinsdale Police Department, N.H. State Police and the N.H. Attorney General’s Office have released few details about that case, saying the investigation remains open.