SPOKANE, Wash. — As the murder trial for a Spokane man accused of killing a man for practice before murdering his ex-wife continues, attorneys dove into details that stood out in surveillance video of the suspect.
Nathan Beal is already serving nearly 32 years in prison for his ex-wife’s murder. This week, he is on trial for allegedly killing Andrew Bull in April 2020.
Prosecutors believe the surveillance videos presented to the jury show Beal’s walking route to and from the crime scene in downtown Spokane.
The lead detective on this case compiled more than a dozen surveillance videos from several businesses. He told the jury, at one point, he noticed the suspect crouching behind trash cans after passing someone in an alley before reaching the crime scene. The detective believes the suspect did this to canvas the area and select a victim.
The defense argued the person seen near the trash cans could have stopped to look at their phone or urinate, adding once again the videos are not clear enough to confidently identify the individual.
Another detective said the person tracked in the videos, who they believe is the suspect, had a noticeable “duck walk.” That detective later noticed Beal had a similar walk when they first met for an interview.
“As soon as he started walking from the police car toward the building, there was an immediate similarity I recognized as being close to that individual in the video--specifically, the slight duck walk, with the left foot pointed out," Spokane Police Detective Wayne Downing said. "I was a little bit excited at that point because it kind of hit me like a ton of bricks, like, woah this might the individual.”
Investigators also obtained a search warrant to look at the contents of Beal's cell phone. SPD Detective Benjamin Green testified that on seven different instances, Beal’s phone showed Google searches for terms including, “Spokane murder” and “Spokane homicide rates" between May and July of 2020.
The defense attorney argued anyone could be concerned about Spokane’s homicide rates and look them up.
The trial will continue through the week.
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