A convict who served time for his role in the 2015 murder-cremation near Ottawa is going back to prison, this time for extended sexual relations with a minor.
Jonathan L. Beckman, 28, of Forreston (formerly of Wedron), was convicted following a June jury trial of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a Class 2 felony carrying a maximum seven years in prison. Beckman was alleged to have engaged in unlawful relations with a minor who became pregnant with his child.
Friday, Beckman was sentenced in La Salle County Circuit Court to the minimum three years. He and his lawyer, Ottawa defense attorney Ryan Hamer, asked for probation citing Beckman’s rehabilitative potential, troubled background and largely minor criminal history.
“I do believe this (the conviction) has opened my eyes in more ways than one,” Beckman said when offered a chance to address his sentencing judge.
Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. acknowledged Beckman’s criminal record was comprised mostly of low-level offenses, “except for the one glaring one.”
The “glaring” conviction was for concealment of a homicidal death. Beckman had pleaded guilty to helping cremate the bludgeoned body of Ottawa businessman Robert Dowd Jr. in a burn pit near the Fox River in 2015.
Beckman was initially charged with first-degree murder but worked out a deal in exchange for testifying against William B. Horman, of Dayton, the primary suspect in Dowd’s disappearance and death. Horman was sentenced to a combined 40 years for murder and concealment while Beckman served part of a five-year term.
At sentencing Friday, Assistant La Salle County State’s Attorney Matt Kidder cited Beckman’s accessory role in the Dowd case in asking for six years. Ryan halved the state’s request but also ruled out probation, noting Beckman continued the illicit affair with the minor even after being questioned by police.
Horman, meanwhile, has repeatedly appealed his murder conviction but without success. Horman is set for release in 2052, when he would be 85 years old.