Opening Statements Begin in Trial of Jason Beckman, Accused of Killing South Miami Commissioner Father

Jason Beckman was originally charged with manslaughter, but statements from friends led authorities to believe the death may have been premeditated.

Opening statements began Wednesday in the trial of Jason Beckman, accused of murdering his father, a South Miami city commissioner.

Jason Beckman, now 21, faces first-degree murder charges for killing father Jay Beckman in 2009.

He was originally charged with manslaughter with a firearm after he told police that he had just wanted to show the gun to his father, but he slipped and fell causing the gun to fire. The charges were upgraded to first-degree murder after friends and family came forward saying the then-17-year-old had talked of killing his father.

Prosecutors say the murder was calculated and pre-meditated.

"We're here because this defendant regularly talked about his hatred for his father and desire to kill him," state prosecutor Jessica Dobbins said in court Wednesday.

During the opening statements, prosecutors told the jury the son had acted methodically, pointing the 12-gauge, double barrel shotgun directly at his father.

"[He was] firing at such a close range that he practically blew his father's face off," Dobbins said.

A search of the son's belongings showed the former South Miami High junior had compiled a hit list of enemies, with his dad's name on the top, authorities said.

Meanwhile, defense attorneys will paint a different picture of Jason Beckman.

His grandmother revealed at an early court hearing that the younger Beckman had been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism.

"Despite these differences," said defense attorney Tara Kawass, "Jason was never aggressive. No one was scared of him."

Jason Beckman had a strained relationship with his father, according to The Miami Herald, and he told police in an interview that his father had threatened to kill him during arguments. His mother died of cancer in 1998, the Herald reported.

But prosecutors said his diagnosis should not impact the jury's decision.

"His differences in no way prevented or excused his intentions or his plans to murder his own father," Dobbins said.

Stay with and NBC 6 South Florida for updates.

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