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Man who fatally shot longtime St. Cloud professor sentenced

Prior to the shooting, the suspect had knocked on the professor's door asking for help.
jason beckman booking photo June 22 2021

The man who was charged earlier this year with shooting and killing a St. Cloud State University professor at random has learned his fate in court. 

Jason Robert Beckman, a 45-year-old Duluth resident, was sentenced Friday to just over 32 years in prison on a second-degree murder charge.

This comes about four months after Edward Ward, a 68-year-old professor at St. Cloud State University, died after being shot in the doorway of his home on the 2600 Block of Island View Drive. 

Beckman was arrested a short time later near the St. Cloud State campus after fleeing the scene on foot, later telling investigators that he had knocked on Ward's door for help after getting lost and crashing his car in the area. 

Beckman was believed to have been experiencing delusions at the time, with investigators reporting that he made "spontaneous utterances" after his arrest, including that people had killed his family, that he struggled with addiction, and that he'd "watched my sister's head go down the interstate."

According to the St. Cloud Times, prosecutors dropped theft and felony firearm possession charges against Beckman, who pleaded guilty earlier this month to the murder charge. 

Ward had been a professor for more than 30 years at SCSU, working in the Management and Entrepreneurship department.

In a statement to Bring Me The News at the time, SCSU President Robbyn R. Wacker said: "This is a heart wrenching and unexpected loss for Dr. Ward’s family and friends, our university, the Herberger Business School, our students and the St. Cloud community.

"Dr. Ward served as a member of our campus community since 1990. He has impacted countless students, faculty and staff throughout his tenure. He will truly be missed."

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