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New evidence released in murder of Navy petty officer

Danny Beard is charged with murder in Andrea Washington’s shooting death

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Over a year after a Navy petty officer was slain inside her Jacksonville home, newly obtained court records shed some light on what led police to charge her ex-boyfriend with her murder.

Danny Ray Beard II is charged with second-degree murder in the September 2018 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend, 38-year-old Andrea Washington. Beard, 37, who was arrested three months later, has maintained his innocence all along – even writing the judge last month to plead his case.

But interrogation videos released by the State Attorney’s Office through the discovery process show police had a hard time believing Beard, and they quickly zeroed in on perceived holes in his alibi.

Washington, a mother of three, was found shot to death Sept. 17, 2018, inside her Itani Way home – hours before a hearing on a protective order against Beard, who was accused of barging into her home weeks earlier. She said he kicked open her bedroom door and threatening her at gunpoint.

Three .25-caliber rounds were found near her body.

Shortly after Washington’s body was found, Beard told detectives that he and a friend stopped by her home to check on her because she didn’t return his phone calls. He said he had received a text message from Washington, saying she was being followed and needed help.

“She texted me, ‘Danny please help.’ She said someone is chasing, following her, somebody named T,” Beard told detectives in the interview. “I don’t know who T is.”

Once they arrived, Beard said, they found Washington dead on her bedroom floor. He said he had no idea what happened to her and denied having anything to do with the crime. “I don’t know what happened to her,” he told detectives. “I don’t know if someone cut her or what.”

He said even though he had spoken recently with Washington, a violation of the restraining order, he was at home the night she was killed. He also said he did not own a firearm.

That didn’t square with what his friend, Marlon Jones, told police. Jones said Beard owned a handgun and he had seen it “the other day,” according to Beard’s arrest warrant. A box of the same type of ammunition found at the murder scene was later found during a search of Beard’s home.

Using a combination of data from Washington’s ADT surveillance system and Google’s geofencing service, detectives placed Beard’s phone at the victim’s home during the same timeframe they believe she was killed, contrary to the statements he had given, according to the warrant.

Beard, who has pleaded not guilty, has stuck to his story despite the evidence against him.

In August, Beard even wrote a letter to the judge presiding over his case, to profess his innocence: “I did nothing wrong but I’m being accused of a crime I didn’t do.” When the case was re-assigned, he wrote that judge, too. “I’m just disappointed that I’m in jail for just coming to help someone.”