Appeals court upholds convictions

Published 9:59 pm Friday, January 10, 2020

The Virginia Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of a Suffolk man who claimed he was not guilty of rape and other charges.

Martrell Dae’Shawn Beamon, 21, was found guilty of rape, forcible sodomy, abduction with intent to defile and three counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The jury trial took place in June 2017.

According to court documents, the female victim was walking home from work near East Washington Street on Sept. 18, 2016, when Beamon pointed a gun at her and sexually assaulted her.

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The woman later saw Beamon in the neighborhood, recognized him and called police.

Beamon at first denied the assault, but DNA found at the scene was a match to him, according to court documents. At trial, Beamon claimed that the victim asked him if she could perform a sex act on him, did so willingly and tried to take cash from him afterward.

After he was sentenced to 53 years in prison in October 2018, Beamon appealed his convictions. He said the trial court erred because the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions because of inconsistencies in the testimony of the victim, and that the trial court erred by denying his motion to set aside the verdict, which resulted from a recantation the victim wrote.

In November, the appeals court found that the victim’s testimony was not so inconsistent as to be inherently incredible, and that the victim wrote the recantation under pressure from Beamon’s family.

“I think the Court of Appeals indicated the main points remained wholly consistent, and it was buttressed by some corroborative evidence, including the DNA,” the original prosecutor, Marie Walls, stated. “It’s indicated she was coerced. She only recanted in order to get the family to leave her alone.

“The jury listened to the evidence. They heard all of the evidence, and they were the true finders of fact in this case, and collectively the 12 of them found him guilty. The court of appeals felt they were in the best position to determine credibility and veracity of the victim’s statements.”

Beamon’s attorney, Greg Matthews, did not return a phone call seeking comment.