Quincy man charged with murdering his girlfriend

Police say couple argued; victim leaves a daughter

Members of Joseph Beatty ’s family in Quincy District Court yesterday watched the arraignment. Members of Joseph Beatty ’s family in Quincy District Court yesterday watched the arraignment. (Gregg Derr/ Associated Press/ Pool)
By John R. Ellement
Globe Staff / September 1, 2009

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QUINCY - The evening was agreeable enough between Joseph Beatty and Mary Beaton, who split the six pack that Beatty had brought to Beaton’s apartment straight down the middle. But then the couple started arguing about a trip to Las Vegas and Beaton started asking for $500 to help pay her rent, Beatty told police.

Beaton’s life soon ended Friday night, allegedly at the hands of the 52-year-old Beatty, who told police he “snapped’’ and strangled Beaton because of the arguments, according to Quincy police and Norfolk District Attorney William R. Keating’s office.

Beatty, who relatives said has a history of mental illness, pleaded not guilty yesterday at his Quincy District Court arraignment on a charge of first-degree murder and was ordered held without bail by Judge Mark Coven.

“Beatty said he strangled Beaton and put her on the bed,’’ Quincy police said in a report filed in court. “Beatty said he then removed Beaton’s clothing and had sex with her. Beatty said he then smothered her with a pillow.’’

In court, Norfolk Assistant District Attorney Thomas L. Finigan described how the couple split the six pack, then began arguing before Beatty allegedly strangled Beaton. Finigan said that after he killed Beaton, Beatty took two crucifixes and placed one on each side of his girlfriend’s head.

In court, Finigan said Beaton had an 11-year-old daughter, who had spent the weekend with her father and was not home when her mother was killed.

Several of Beaton’s relatives were also in court, but declined to speak about the 33-year-old woman. A longtime family friend, Kevin Donovan, said after the arraignment that Beatty had shattered the Beaton family’s peace.

“He’s a monster,’’ Donovan said of Beatty. “The guy has disrupted a lot of lives.’’

According to Finigan and the police report, the slaying was discovered after Beatty, accompanied by a sister, went to Boston Medical Center because he was acting suicidal.

Beatty allegedly confessed to killing Beaton, first to a Boston police officer and then to investigators from Quincy and the State Police.

Officers went to Beaton’s Beach Street apartment and found her body underneath a fleece blanket.

State Police later recovered his van on P Street in South Boston. Inside they found a bloodstained knife that Beatty may have used to try to kill himself.

Police said in Beatty’s booking report that there were “hesitation cuts on both wrists and neck.’’

Beatty, according to his attorney, Robert Jubinville, has undergone a kidney transplant within the past several years and has been undergoing mental health counseling for the last year.

Jubinville said he was not sure what Beatty’s diagnosis is.

Beatty’s relatives, including a niece who would not give her name, said after the arraignment that they were shocked he has been charged with committing such a violent act.

“I am totally shocked that this happened,’’ said the niece, crying as she spoke. “I am standing by him 100 percent. He has mental issues.’’

Beatty is due back in court Oct. 7.

Correction: Because of an error by the Associated Press, a photo caption in yesterday’s Metro section with a story about a Quincy man charged in the death of his girlfriend misidentified a couple photographed in the courtroom. They are relatives of the defendant.