A jailhouse informant told prosecutors Nathan Beal killed Andrew Bull because he was "curious"

By Chris Harris
May 10, 2021 11:29 AM
Advertisement
Mary Schaffer; Andrew Bull
Credit: Gofundme; Facebook

Months before authorities say he fatally shot his ex-wife, a 36-year-old Washington State man allegedly killed a homeless man "as practice," a prosecutor said in court.

On Friday, prosecutor Dale Nagy alleged that Nathan Beal shot 30-year-old Andrew Bull in the head on April 3, 2020. Bull's body was found in an alleyway in Spokane.

Nagy said authorities "believe the killing [of Bull] was done by Mr. Beal as practice" for the August 8, 2020, killing of 32-year-old Mary Schaffer, according to the Spokesman-Review, whose reporter was present for Friday's proceedings.

PEOPLE confirms Beal was charged last August with premeditated murder for allegedly killing Schaffer, his ex-wife.

He remains in custody on $1 million bond. Beal has not yet been charged in connection with Bull's death, online court records indicate, but has been identified as a suspect in the April killing.

According to the Spokesman-Review, Nagy alleged in court last week that a jailhouse informant had come forward, saying that Beal admitted he shot Bull because he was "curious" and that it was for "practice."

Prosecutors say shell casings from both killings were traced to a gun Beal and his girlfriend had purchased month's before Bull was killed.

Both victims died from gunshot wounds to the head.

Schaffer was found slumped over in a car in the Browne's Addition neighborhood. She was there to pick up her children from Beal, according to police.

In court on Friday, Nagy alleged that Beal staked out a homeless encampment with his two children a few months before the killings.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

At that time, Nagy said, Beal allegedly made comments about killing people who were camped there, the paper reports.

Beal has pleaded not guilty to Schaffer's killing. His attorney could not be reached for comment.

His trial is set to begin in October.

Police have not commented on a potential motive for Schaffer's killing.