Road Rage case: Man sentenced to 18 years in prison - New York News

Road rage shooting suspect sentenced to 18 years; claims self-defense

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John Chester Stuart John Chester Stuart
PHOENIX -

Nearly six years after a Phoenix man was shot and killed in a road rage shooting, the shooter is sentenced and despite the jury's guilty verdict, the shooter still claims he was only defending himself.

The first trial ended in a mistrial, but this time, the jury found John Chester Stuart guilty of second degree murder.

"I am truly remorseful.. Mr. Beasley died and nothing I can say will bring him back," said Stuart, who spent most of his time addressing the judge, proclaiming his innocence.

"I know Mr. Beasley's death was a tragedy, but I also know it was not a crime your honor," he said.

Back in January 2008, Stuart shot and killed Tom Beasley in what police called a road rage shooting.

Beasley and his wife were heading home after a night at the Phoenix Open golf tournament.  The incident apparently stemmed from Beasley driving behind Stuart with his brights on.

Stuart claimed that Beasley, who had been drinking that night, got out of his car during an argument and attempted to strangle Stuart, and Stuart opened fire in self-defense.

Prosecutors argued that Beasley was standing three feet away when he was shot.

"He treated us like prey," said the victim's wife, Rebecca Beasley, who saw everything.

"This was a case about a heavily armed predator with a short fuse who lost his temper and went into a murderous rage."

Stuart told the judge that Beasley was the aggressor.

"I also move this court to consider the facts. I never left my car. I attempted to retreat before Mr. Beasley was injured.. even ramming the car behind me in my attempt to retreat from his attack."

Judge Sherry Stephens presided over both trials and had this response:

"I am very familiar with the facts presented by the state and I am familiar with the defense that you presented. The jury found you guilty and I am going to sentence you accordingly."

Stephens sentenced Stuart to 18 years in prison.

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