Charles A. Beck Jr. was charged Thursday in Sedgwick County District Court with first-degree murder in the strangulation death of his live-in girlfriend, Lonnie Staggs, at their Derby home and with attempted murder of her 15-year-old son.
The Sedgwick County district attorney’s court filings said Beck cut the teen, identified by family as Nathan Dorl, with a knife and attempted to strangle him with a cord. The complaint also said Beck strangled the 44-year-old Staggs, but it didn’t list a weapon for that attack.
The manner of Staggs’ death hadn’t been revealed until the district attorney presented charges during Beck’s first court appearance Thursday afternoon. Derby police had only called the death “obviously very suspicious.”
Beck, 40, allegedly committed the crimes Sunday morning shortly before 10 a.m. Staggs was taken to a hospital where she later died. Her son was treated and released for a stab wound to the neck, police said.
Beck was arrested Sunday night in Texas County, Mo., east of Springfield, after he turned himself in. He was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on Wednesday and is being held on a $1 million bond.
Beck’s preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 19. He has requested a court-appointed attorney.
Staggs’ 11-year-old daughter, Breanna Williamson, was also in the house at the time of the altercation. After allegedly fighting off Beck and being stabbed, Nathan took his sister and locked them both in a bedroom and waited until the suspect left, Angel Hallock, a family friend, has said.
Nathan and his sister earlier this week went to live with their maternal grandparents in northern Oklahoma.
Beck had been released Aug. 28 from parole for convictions on drug possession and violating a protection order, according to Kansas Department of Corrections records. He was sent to prison in 2006 and paroled in 2011.
The homicide was Derby’s first since 2004, Derby Police Chief Robert Lee said.