FARMINGTON — Jacob Beach stood quietly Thursday as a judge moved his case to district court, the next phase in his trial on a murder charge.

Beach's brother wasn't quiet. He called Magistrate Judge Stanley King a fool as he was leaving the courtroom and was hauled away in handcuffs after King found him in contempt of court.

Jacob Beach, 20, waived his preliminary hearing Thursday after prosecutors amended the charge against him to second-degree murder.

Beach had been charged with an open count of murder in the shooting death of 18-year-old Sharolyn Keown. She was shot in the chest on Nov. 5 near Mockingbird Trailer Park, where she was living with her boyfriend, and died at the scene.

Police say Beach shot Keown after she confronted and slapped him. She was upset because Beach allegedly attempted to sexually assault her months before the shooting, according to court documents.

Beach reportedly fled after the shooting. He was arrested the next night at a motel in Aztec.

The change in the charge could significantly shorten Beach's prison sentence if he is convicted. A person convicted of second-degree murder serves up to 15 years in prison and a first-degree murder conviction carries at least a 30-year prison sentence.

If Beach is convicted of second-degree murder, he likely would be in his 30s when released from jail.

"My client's potential exposure went from life to up to 15 years," Cosme Ripol, Beach's attorney, said after the hearing. "It's very significant.



Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said the office believes the homicide was a case of second-degree murder.

Ripol asked King during the hearing to lower Beach's bail to an amount more suitable for a second-degree felony.

Beach is currently being held at San Juan Detention Center on a $500,000 cash-only bond.

Assistant District Attorney Steven Johnston said the bond should remain the same because Beach fled after the shooting. Johnston said investigators learned Beach was planning to go to Albuquerque or Phoenix to avoid being arrested.

"The fact that we made an agreement (to charge Beach with second-degree murder) in no way changes the fact that ... the defendant was on the run for more than 24 hours" after the shooting, he said.

King did not lower Beach's bond.

As dozens of investigators and witnesses filed out of the courtroom after the hearing, Robert Hockman, a 29-year-old man who said he was Beach's brother, told Beach to keep his head up.

King told Hockman not to speak to the prisoner.

Hockman called King a fool.

King warned Hockman and told him to respect the court.

Hockman told King to respect him and called him a fool again.

"Fool?" King said. "Did I stutter?" Hockman responded.

Hockman was handcuffed by Farmington police detectives and taken to jail to serve a 60-day sentence on the contempt charge.

It was the second time one of Beach's relatives was arrested in recent weeks.

Beach's mother, Traci Beach, 46, was arrested Nov. 21 for suspicion of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Police said they found 52 grams of marijuana and marijuana pipes in her bedroom during a court-ordered search of the Beach house on Clubhouse Drive in Farmington, according to court documents.

Traci Beach is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing for her charges on Jan. 9.