Police said a Louisana man with a history of mental illness was spotted purchasing gasoline minutes before he set his elderly mother on fire, killing her.
Per The Times-Picayune, Erik Beasley, 39, was filmed filling up a gasoline jug and purchasing two gallons of water at a gas station located a half-mile away from the New Orleans home he shared with his mother, Sarah Beasley, 78. Firefighters would reportedly find the woman’s charred body inside the home 30 minutes later.
An empty jug of water was reportedly found near the woman’s body. Erik is accused of getting into a car and driving off after allegedly killing his mother. Police indicated the victim’s husband was the one to discover the grisly scene.
Officials revealed that 90 percent of Sarah’s body was burned, with the injuries to her face, chest, and stomach being the most severe. The newspaper reported that her burned body was located on a chaise, but the flames didn’t spread throughout the rest of the living room.
The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office wrote that Sarah’s lungs and airway were filled with soot—suggesting she was alive when she was lit ablaze.
Records obtained by The Advocate suggested the New Orleans man has a history of mental illness. Police said they took him into custody Tuesday after he was discharged from a medical facility. However, they didn’t disclose why he was undergoing treatment and for how long.
The Times-Picayune reported that Erik has a lengthy criminal history in New Orleans, with criminal damage to property and sexual battery convictions dating back to 2013.
Moreover, The Advocate reported that he pleaded guilty in April for an incident that involved damaging property and assaulting a correctional officer. Court documents stated he underwent psychiatric treatment at a state hospital while facing charges. As of May, he was reportedly living with his parents and taking medication.
Erik was charged with second-degree murder and aggravated arson in connection with the November 23 slaying. Held on $900,000 bond, his next court date is scheduled for December 11.
[Featured Image: Erik Beasley/Orleans Justice Center jail]