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'There will never be closure': Family of man murdered in 2019 want justice in son's case

Police arrested a man after William "Billy" Buchanan, 33, was killed at a Free Soil Twp home in April 2019, but the case has never gone to trial
Billy Buchanan Web Pic
Posted at 5:53 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 17:53:09-04

MASON COUNTY, Mich. — The parents of a man killed in 2019 are speaking out after waiting over two years to see justice in their son's case. Despite police arresting a man for his murder the day it happened, the suspect has been released from jail and the case has never gone to trial.

Police found William "Billy" Buchanan, 33, dead inside a home in the 10000 block of North US-31 in Free Soil Township on April 16, 2019 after a standoff with a man believed to be responsible for his murder.

Police arrested Corey Beekman, 32, at the scene, and he was later charged with open murder, assault with intent to murder and two counts of felony firearm for allegedly killing Billy Buchanan and shooting another woman inside the home. The woman's two children were also inside at the time Beekman was shot, both of them making it out unharmed.

It was devastating news for Billy's parents, Denita and William Buchanan Sr., but it seemed to be an open-and-shut case.

Over two years later, though, the case has yet to be resolved with a plea deal or go to trial.

“I don't hear my son laughing; I don't hear my son messing around, joking with me... I have silence,” Billy's mother Denita told FOX 17 Tuesday morning, with tears in her eyes.

"He had a good heart, and when he had his son, his son was everything to him... He was so proud to be a daddy, and to have that taken away and not be able to grow anymore."

Despite their 12-year gap, Billy loved his sister Bobby dearly. They formed a deep bond after Billy developed and recovered from spinal meningitis as a young child.

"Billy was just full of love," his mother said.

She says he was at that Free Soil Township house on the night he was killed because he was helping a female friend move.

"I know she had two young children at that time, and we had never seen her before,” Denita said.

It's not clear what happened inside the home where he was killed, but to his parents it sounds like he was basically ambushed.

"They said he was shot three times... One in the chest, one in the stomach, and then when he put his arms up, one of them went through his armpit, his heart, his lungs, and exited towards his back," his mother explained.

Police said when it happened that they believed Beekman had shot and killed Billy, as well as shot the woman he was with, injuring her. The woman's two children were also inside.

“A certain detective told me... they said that Billy saved their lives... Billy told them, 'You stay under the kitchen table until a police officer comes to get you,' so the detectives said that Billy died a hero, because he saved two little children.”

It took a SWAT team to get Beekman out of the home after a standoff that lasted an hour and a half. And while he was initially booked on the multiple felony charges related to Billy's murder, he was eventually released from jail, and the case has never been resolved with a plea deal, nor gone to trial.

His parents say the Mason County Prosecutor's Office isn't doing enough to keep the case progressing.

“I’m 65 years old... I don't have 10 or 15 years to think if they're going to decide,” she said.

“Bill and I have just decided that because no one cares, that we need to do it ourselves.”

They continue to advocate for their son in his absence, and work to make sure the man seemingly implicated in his death soon faces the scales of justice.

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