Accused killer made his home in Basalt |

Accused killer made his home in Basalt

ASPEN, Colorado ” It wasn’t long after Antonio Flores was found dead at his mobile home in Tulsa, Okla., that John Richard Beato moved to the Basalt area, authorities said Thursday.

Beato, who had lived in Broken Arrow, Okla., picked up a few jobs in the valley, including a stint as an apprentice electrician for Durgin Electric Inc. He worked for the Carbondale firm from November through July.

“He never caused us any problems,” company owner Steve Durgin said Thursday.

Beato, 22, quit Durgin Electric without giving notice, Durgin said. His most recent job was at Basalt-based JC Electric.

On Wednesday night, U.S. deputy marshals and Basalt police arrested Beato on a first-degree murder charge as he was returning home from work. Beato is accused of strangling Flores to death some time between Aug. 22-25, 2007. Flores was not found until days after he died, and it was not until June that a warrant was issued for Beato’s arrest.

“[Beato] took off from Tulsa after the body was found,” said Chad Hunt, a deputy U.S. marshal.

Durgin said there was no way of knowing Beato was charged with first-degree murder, because he applied for the job some eight months before the warrant was issued.

“A background check wouldn’t have shown it,” he said.

An owner at JC Electric declined an interview. He did say, however, that a background check on his driver’s license number did not reveal that Beato was wanted for murder.

In fact, it was not until Monday that U.S. marshals learned that Beato was living and working somewhere between Grand Junction and Basalt, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Marshal’s Office on Thursday.

By Wednesday, Beato’s locale had been narrowed down to Basalt, prompting U.S. marshals to contact local authorities. One of them was Basalt Patrol Sgt. Stu Curry, who was told by U.S. marshals that they would try to make an arrest that day.

Plain-clothed Denver officers from the Fugitive Location and Apprehension Group task force, along with members of the Basalt Police Department, staked out several locations waiting for Beato, who had been working in the Snowmass area that day.

Some time after 5:30 p.m. in Basalt, Curry spotted a vehicle in which he believed Beato was a passenger. He then pulled the vehicle over, and when all three passengers got out, he told two of them to get back in the car. He then arrested Beato without incident and took him to Eagle County Jail, where he is awaiting extradition to Tulsa County.

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