Man convicted of bias crimes against Cold Spring family

ST. CLOUD – A Stearns County jury has convicted a Richmond man of a series of crimes against a biracial family in Cold Spring.

Thirty-three years Benton Beyer was convicted of criminal harassment, breach of harassment restraining orders, 1st degree criminal damage to property, theft of a motor vehicle and multiple counts of 2nd degree assault.

The jury also found that the charges were motivated by bias and that there were aggravating circumstances because the crimes took place in the family home and the children witnessed the offences.

Beyer was accused of intentionally crashing a vehicle into the family home because his girlfriend cheated on him with a black man.

Court records show Beyer was paranoid that she kept cheating on him and that she got angry at black men and used racial slurs on several occasions.

Beyer’s girlfriend worked near the home of the biracial family whose home was damaged. He became increasingly paranoid that his girlfriend slept with one of the family’s sons.

The criminal complaint describes several incidents in which Beyer allegedly vandalized family property and tracked them down. The family obtained a harassment restraining order that court records allege Beyer repeatedly violated.

In July last year, Beyer stole an SUV, pointed it at the family home, used a large chunk of granite to hold the accelerator down and fled as it crashed into the home. He was arrested shortly after near a park.

Beyer will be sentenced on November 18.

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