Death of man struck at MTMHI ruled homicide - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Death of man struck at MTMHI ruled homicide

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Kevin Beasley Kevin Beasley
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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A man struck in the face while a patient at the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute last week has been ruled a homicide, according to police.

Police said Billy Joe Newman, 67, of Clarksville, was forcefully struck in the face and knocked off his feet while a MTMHI patient on Aug. 4.

Newman was transported by ambulance to Summit Medical Center after the incident. On Monday he was transferred to a Montgomery County nursing home where he died on Tuesday.

The medical examiner has determined that Newman's cause of death was from complications caused by the Aug. 4 assault.

Police have determined that Kevin Beasley, 23, a man known for violent crimes in East Nashville, was unprovoked when he intentionally and forcefully hit Newman in the face with his elbow in a facility area adjacent to a nurse's station. Newman fell backwards, hit the floor and was knocked unconscious.

The state, which operates MTMHI, would not comment on the death.

"We are unable to comment at this time regarding an ongoing investigation, except to say that our thoughts go out to the victim's family," said Michael Rabkin, director of communications for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance AbuseServices.

Police reviewed the case with the district attorney's office on Thursday and issued an arrest warrant charging Beasley with criminal homicide.

Beasley is at MTMHI after being acquitted by reason of insanity of a July 2011 attempted murder.

In that case, police said Beasley had stolen an ATV from a construction site, drove into East Park and deliberately ran over a man sitting on the lawn. He then stopped, backed up, and ran over the victim a second time. The victim, Arvid Todd, who had no prior interaction with Beasley, was critically injured.

Beasley was later identified as the suspect in the unprovoked June 2011 stabbing of a 60-year-old woman as she pushed her granddaughter in a stroller on Fatherland Street. The assailant inexplicably stabbed the victim once in the neck with a steak knife and fled. Beasley was charged with attempted murder in that case. A judge recently suppressed Beasley's statement to police in regard to the stabbing. The district attorney's office is appealing the suppression.

Beasley will be transported from MTMHI to the Metropolitan Justice Center in the near future to be booked on today's criminal homicide warrant.

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