Woman Charged in Wayzata Officer’s Death Makes Court Appearance

September 12, 2017 03:22 PM

A woman accused in the death of a Wayzata police officer appeared in court Tuesday.

Beth Freeman, 54, is accused of hitting officer Bill Mathews as he was clearing debris from Highway 12 Friday.

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Bail was set at $500,000 without conditions in a very brief appearance in Hennepin County court Tuesday afternoon. She is due back in court on Oct. 9.

She is facing two charges of criminal vehicular homicide and one count of driving after the cancellation of her driver's license.

RELATED: 'He Knew Everyone': Wayzata Officer Hit, Killed Clearing Debris from Highway

This isn't the first time Freeman has been in trouble with the law.

Her license was revoked nearly a year ago, but her trouble with the law goes all the way back to 1987. She has more than 20 criminal convictions through three decades.

RELATED: Lengthy Criminal Record for Woman Charged in Wayzata Officer's Death

She told authorities Friday she had been texting before she hit and killed Mathews.

Authorities searched her car and found drug paraphernalia, which tested positive for traces of cocaine. The criminal complaint also states a sobriety test allegedly shows Freeman had been under the influence of a controlled substance, which would be a violation of her probation for a 2016 conviction for felony drug possession.

According to sentencing records, Freeman has served a total of one and a half years behind bars. Former U.S. Attorney Rachel Paulose explains why there has been a discrepancy.

"The key here is no prior evidence that she maliciously engaged in violent behavior against an individual with pre-meditation," Paulose said. "That difference, really, can be the difference between extensive jail time and probation of workhouse time."

A funeral for Mathews has been scheduled for Thursday morning.

RELATED: Funeral Schedule Set for Wayzata Police Officer Killed Friday

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