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Derby murder suspect waives right to preliminary hearing

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, at 10:28 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, at 10:37 a.m.

A Derby man charged in the Sept. 1 strangulation death of his live-in girlfriend and the attempted murder of her 15-year-old son waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

His lawyer entered not guilty pleas on his behalf to charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder.

District Judge Steve Ternes set a March 3 trial date for Charles A. Beck Jr., 40, who is charged in the death of Lonnie Staggs, 44, at their Derby home. Prosecutors said Beck also cut the teen in the neck with a knife and tried to strangle him with a cord.

Derby police said the son was able to get away from Beck and lock himself and his 11-year-old sister in a bedroom during the attack.

Beck, who was released from prison in 2011 after serving time for a 2006 Russell County drug conviction, was arrested shortly after the attack in Texas County, Mo., after turning himself in. He is being held in the Sedgwick County Jail on a $1 million bond.

Beck’s preliminary hearing was delayed in October so psychologists could determine whether he was competent to stand trial. They determined that he was.

Derby police said the homicide was the city’s first since 2004.

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @hlaviana

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