Duluth man sentenced to 32 years in prison for shooting that killed St. Cloud professor

A Duluth man who pleaded guilty in connection with a shooting that killed a St. Cloud professor in June has been sentenced to 386 months, or 32 years, in prison.

Earlier this month, 45-year-old Jason Robert Beckman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with intent, not premeditated. Theft and felony firearm possession charges filed in connection with the incident were dismissed.

Beckman will receive credit for 132 days served.

The morning of June 20, officers responded to a report of a shooting along Island View Drive and were told a man, later identified as Edward Anthony Ward, was shot while standing inside the doorway of a home.

Officers found Beckman about 1.5 miles away from the scene, in possession of a handgun and cartridges that were consistent with evidence at the scene of the shooting.

While speaking with investigators, Beckman admitted to using controlled substances a few days prior to the shooting and claimed a man parked in a grocery store lot had pointed a rifle at him. A criminal complaint filed at the time stated Beckman said he wasn’t sure whether the incident was a delusion, claiming he had previously been diagnosed with mental disorders.

Beckman said when Ward answered the door, he thought Ward was the man with the rifle he claimed to have seen a few days prior. Beckman drew his handgun and reportedly fired twice. Beckman admitted to police he knew he was prohibited from possessing firearms.

A medical examiner report revealed Ward suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, and the cause of death was ruled to be a homicide. Ward was a longtime business professor at St. Cloud State University.