Crime Stoppers tip-off led police to charge Decatur ax murderer, court hears | public safety

DECATUR — Police revealed during a Decatur court hearing that it was a Crime Stoppers tip that put them on the trail of accused killer Daniel S. Boehme Sr., who denies bludgeoning his girlfriend to death with an axe.

Boehme, 63, appeared in Macon County Circuit Court on Wednesday for a preliminary hearing and Judge Rodney Forbes found probable cause to try him. The defendant has pleaded not guilty to three alternative counts of murder in the death of his 35-year-old girlfriend, Helena “Sunny” Beams.

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Giving evidence earlier, Decatur Police Detective James Weddle said the tip was received on January 27. A sworn affidavit signed by Weddle described the tip as saying “Boehme had ‘cut it into small pieces and placed it in a hole’.

Weddle testified Wednesday that he obtained a search warrant for Boehme’s home in the 600 block of South Haworth Avenue after finding a blood-splattered woman’s shoe in an open trash can outside. Later, on January 27, police discovered Beams’ bloodied, but intact, body wrapped in a blanket in a bedroom; an axe, the apparent murder weapon, lay beside her.

When questioned by Macon County State’s Attorney Scott Rueter, Weddle said Crime Stoppers’ tip led them to several people with information about the circumstances surrounding Beams’ murder.

“And were the officers in contact with the person who Crime Stoppers alleges was the person Mr. Boehme asked for help disposing of the body?” Rueter asked.

Weddle said that was okay. And his sworn affidavit went further, listing witnesses who said Boehme made statements saying “I finally killed her” and also asked a friend of his to “dig a hole for him because he thought he had done something to Helena”.

Chief Public Defender Michelle Sanders, cross-examining Weddle in court, asked if there were any surveillance tapes that captured what happened to Beams, and the detective said there were none. .

“Have any forensic tests been carried out on the ax or any other evidence recovered from the scene? Sanders asked.

“It’s at the (State Police) Crime Lab now,” the detective replied.

Sanders asked him if Boehme had been questioned about the case and Weddle said the police had “attempted to question him, yes”.

“But he never made any statements regarding the case?” Sanders asked.

“No,” replied the detective.

Boehme is being held in Macon County Jail on bail set at $2 million, requiring him to post $200,000 bond. He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on April 14.

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

Mark M. Gagnon