Page 4 of 8
"I trusted Jose," she later testified.
She shouldn't have. Court testimony later revealed that Arevalo and a friend he'd met in prison, Gerald Zugelder, had talked about faking a drug deal -- they even imagined wrapping up flour in blue plastic -- to lure and rob Grant the next time he came to town.
On this night, Arevalo and Beach took Bo's car -- a bright-green Dodge Stratus with glitzy, gold Dayton wheels. Arevalo told Beach where to drive. As they rolled down Kansas Avenue, Arevalo spotted his friend Jesse Jimenez driving toward them in an SUV. Beach pulled over.
The two men greeted each other and chatted for a few minutes in Spanish, according to Beach's testimony. Then they both got into Beach's car. Arevalo told Beach they were going to Jimenez's house at 714 Homer, where he kept his drugs. On the way there, Beach got a page from Grant. Beach dropped off the two men at Jimenez's place and headed for what was then the Chaplain Truck Stop on 18th Street near I-70.
Grant was waiting there in a rented Cadillac with bags of money -- $36,000 in all. Margaret Thomas, whom Beach didn't know, was sitting in the passenger seat.
Beach and Grant chatted for a few minutes, and Beach used a pay phone to call her mother and say that she was OK and would be home in an hour. Then Beach told Grant to follow her. She drove down Central Avenue to 7th Street, then made a right onto Homer, a dead-end street across from a deserted soccer field and next to what was then the 7th Street Café. Beach pulled into an alley beside Jimenez's house, a tiny, run-down bungalow on a scraggly patch of grass, and Grant parked nearby.
Beach walked over to Grant's car to get $12,000 for 2 pounds of meth. Thomas would later tell police that Grant asked Beach if she wanted her $1,000 now or later, and Beach told him he could just give it to her later. Beach walked off toward the house as Thomas watched.
Beach knocked on the door of the house. "Hello?" she called out. Nobody answered, so she pushed the door open and walked inside.
Within seconds, two men -- Thomas later identified them as Arevalo and Jimenez -- ran from behind the house, at least one of them shooting at Grant's car. Thomas ducked against the floorboard. "Get down!" she told Grant. But he was slumped over, not moving.
Inside the house, Beach later testified, she heard gunshots and dropped to the floor in a fetal position. During her trial, Beach said she had been terrified, not knowing what was happening or who was shooting.
Grant had been shot eight or nine times at close range. (The coroner testified that he couldn't tell how many times Grant had been shot, because the wounds were so extensive.) Thomas, who had escaped the first shots, saw a man's face in the driver's-side window. She later testified that Arevalo said, "Bitch, you're gonna die," and shot her in the chest.
After the gunfire ended, Beach opened the door of the bungalow and walked outside. She saw Arevalo slowly backing away from something, she later testified, but she couldn't see what. She heard a girl screaming.
"Come on!" Arevalo yelled at Beach, but she remembers that she just stood there and shook her head no. Jimenez later told police that she looked "frozen."
Though injured, Thomas managed to reach over and shift the car into drive. It rolled down Homer and out into traffic on 7th Street before crashing into the brick wall at the entrance to the Pala Vista apartment complex. Bleeding, Thomas stumbled out of the car and tried to flag down cars before passing out in the street. A medical technician on his way home from work stopped to help.