Man gets 30 years in girlfriend’s killing

gavel, sentencing, judge, court
Gavel (KSN File Photo)

PEVELY, Missouri (AP) – A 33-year-St. Louis County man has been convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing his girlfriend.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Brian E. Smith was charged with hitting Heather Beckley of Pevely in the head with a hammer and leaving her in the woods near Imperial, where they had gone to make methamphetamine in December 2012.

He was sentenced Monday, the same day he pleaded guilty to the murder charge as well as armed criminal action.

Detectives initially sought charges of first-degree murder, but prosecutors instead issued the second-degree charge. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, racial slurs or consistent name calling will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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