Man charged with killing girlfriend with hammer in Jefferson County


by staff

Posted on December 21, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Updated Saturday, Dec 22 at 4:52 PM

IMPERIAL, Mo. ( – The boyfriend of a woman found dead in Imperial Sunday morning has been charged with using a hammer to kill her.

Brian Edward Smith was charged Thursday with second-degree murder in the death of 34-year-old Heather Beckley.

Police said Beckley’s body was found in a field near Butler Valley and Antonia Valley around 8:30 a.m. Sunday. According to police, she was found about eight to 10 miles from her home.

Authorities said they believe both Smith and Beckley, who were dating, were doing methamphetamine before Smith used a hammer to kill her.

He then dumped her body in a wooded area where the couple had gone to make methamphetamine.

Court documents say a man who directed the couple to the woods as a place to make meth told police he later saw Smith with blood on his face. He said Smith told him he hit Beckley six times with a hammer.

Smith was originally questioned in Beckley’s death on Monday and arrested on narcotics charges.

According to police, he had been arrested several times in the past on drug charges.

Beckley leaves behind several children.

Police have not disclosed a possible motive. Smith’s bond was set at $1 million.