By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
A man accused of kidnapping a woman from a ranch in Colorado in February and taking her to Cheyenne has pleaded innocent to four federal charges filed in connection with the incident.
Joseph Beecher, during his arraignment in U.S. District Court in Cheyenne on Monday, pleaded innocent to charges of kidnapping, carjacking, carrying a firearm during a crime of violence and transporting stolen firearms.
Beecher, accompanied by a woman identified only as A.E., was arrested Feb. 3 by a special weapons and tactics team for the Cheyenne Police Department that broke into his motel room after spotting a fire in another room at the motel.
According to court documents, Beecher was a suspect in a burglary in Craig, Colorado. Later the same day, his pickup truck was spotted breaking through the main gate at a ranch in Rio Blanco County, Colorado.
A.E. told Cheyenne police she was working at a housekeeper at former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ranch and was abducted at gunpoint by Beecher, who got into her pickup truck and ordered her to drive to Denver.
“A.E., in fear for her life, did as he demanded,” the documents said.
The two stopped at two gas stations and an ATM and then Beecher told her to drive to Cheyenne, where he ordered her to rent a room at the Stagecoach Motel.
Police spotted the woman’s pickup truck in the motel parking lot and began surveillance at the motel when they spotted a fire in another part of the building.
“Cheyenne SWAT initiated their response due to the exigence circumstance and forced entry into (Beecher’s room),” the documents said. “Upon entry, SWAT operators detained Beecher and escorted A.E. from the room.”
Beecher was indicted on the federal charges by a grand jury on March 17 and faces a sentence of up to life in prison on the charge of kidnap. He also faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison for carrying a firearm during a crime of violence.