Guilty verdict in decades-old murder case in Galveston County

GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas – A jury has handed down a guilty verdict in a nearly 30-year-old murder case in Galveston County.

Clyde Hedrick, 61, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Ellen Rae Beason.

Investigators first ruled her death as undetermined, and Hedrick was convicted of abuse of a corpse in 1986.

New forensic evidence showed Beason died from a blow to the back of the head.

Hedrick pleaded not guilty to murder.

Hedrick's defense attorney argued that Beason drowned while the pair was skinny dipping. Hedrick said he panicked and didn't think anyone would believe him, so he put her body under a discarded couch on the Galveston Causeway.

Prosecutors said Beason's head was bashed in and Hedrick hid her body to cover his crime.

When deciding guilt or innocence, jurors had the option of finding Hedrick guilty or innocent of murder, guilty or innocent of involuntary manslaughter or guilty or innocent of criminally negligent homicide.

The punishment phase will begin on Monday.

Before this trial began, prosecutors filed documents with the court indicating they may bring up information that Hedrick was also possibly involved in the deaths of Laura Miller and Heidi Marie Fye in the mid-1980s. Both deaths are considered part of the so-called "Killing Fields" murders and have never been solved.

So far, prosecutors have not presented any of this information in court and declined to speak about the current case until after the punishment phase of the trial.

During a jailhouse interview with Local 2 Investigates in January, Hedrick denied any involved in the deaths of Miller or Fye.

Tim Miller, Laura's father and founder of Texas EquuSearch, along with Fye's family have attended Hedrick's trial every day.

About the Authors:

Award winning investigative journalist who joined KPRC 2 in July 2000. Husband and father of the Master of Disaster and Chaos Gremlin. “I don’t drink coffee to wake up, I wake up to drink coffee.”