Gregory Beach, 40, a popular fifth-grade teacher at O.W. Erlewine School, was found dead Jan. 3, 1992, at his vacation home in Volcano. Authorities said he had been beaten to death with a sledgehammer.
Harley Davidson Messenger, a 19-year-old former C.K. McClatchy High School student, who had lived with Beach for three months is 1991, was arrested and subsequently pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Beach’s death.
According to stories in The Sacramento Bee, Messenger later sought to withdraw the plea. Despite arguments that Messenger was a suicidal, impulsive, emotionally disturbed victim of child abuse, an Amador Superior Court judge ruled that there was no legal reason to reinstate his not-guilty plea and grant him a trial.
Messenger was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.