Suspect arrested in gay Dallas man’s murder

Posted on 03 May 2013 at 11:30am

Police say Christopher Beachum stabbed and strangled Gerald Canepa to death in his Oak Cliff home after they met on Craigslist

Beachum-Canepa

Christopher Howard Beachum, left, and Gerald Canepa (via Facebook)

FROM STAFF REPORTS

A suspect wanted in the murder of a gay Oak Cliff man after they arranged to have sex on Craigslist was taken into custody Thursday, May 2, according to Dallas police Lt. Paul Stokes.

DPD issued an arrest warrant Monday, April 29, for 27-year-old Christopher Howard Beachum of Addison, on a charge of capital murder. The warrant alleged that Beachum  murdered 68-year-old Gerald Canepa in his Hampton Hills home on March 15.

Stoke said Beachum was arrested Thursday in Eugene, Ore.

Police believe Beachum stabbed and strangled Canepa to death. According to the warrant, Canepa was found nude on his bed on March 18 with multiple stab wounds. A TV, DVD player, computers and Canepa’s cell phone had been removed from the residence.

Canepa’s email records showed he’d exchanged messages with Beachum, which indicated he was going to Canepa’s house to have sex before their last correspondence at 12:29 a.m. on March 15.
Records indicated that Canepa’s cell phone was detected by a cell tower one-half mile from Beachum’s residence in Addison at 1:51 a.m.

Police say Beachum pawned two cameras and several DVDs belonging to Canepa on March 18.

According to Jon Garinn, a neighbor of Canepa’s, police notified neighborhood crime watch leaders early in the investigation that the murder was targeted and a killer was not randomly breaking into homes.

Garinn said Beachum had a Facebook page that was inactive from November through March but had postings again after the murder. That page has since been removed.

Johnny Line, the victim’s next-door neighbor, was helping relatives clean out the house this week.

“It’s frustrating it’s not getting much publicity,” Line said prior to Beachum’s arrest.

Lt. Paul Stokes said Dallas police don’t usually release photos of wanted criminals. However, Dallas Voice obtained photos from Facebook and the Dallas County sheriff’s department. Stokes said the Addison address listed on the arrest warrant was Beachum’s last known address.

“We’re following some promising leads today,” Stokes said earlier Thursday.

Beachum was also arrested in 2012 for a 2010 home burglary in Dallas. That case has not come to trial.

Police LGBT liaison Laura Martin warned the gay community about hooking up online. She called it a red flag if the person won’t meet first.

“If you’re going to meet with a stranger, meet somewhere in a public place with other people around,” she said. “Not somewhere private with no witnesses.”

According to an obituary in the Dallas Morning News, Canepa had recently retired from the Dallas school district after 31 years as a computer programmer.

“Gerry has left us forever memories of his smile, kind heart, love for cycling around White Rock Lake, his love for his dog Buddy, gourmet cooking, his beautiful roses, driving his red 2012 convertible Camaro, and the special moments shared with family, close friends, and neighbors throughout the years,” the obit states.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 3, 2013.

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