Killer: Scientologists Talked Me Out Of Needed Help

Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Date: January 26, 1992

Gary Don Beals says he might not have murdered his father and tried to kill his mother if not for influence by the Church of Scientology.

Beals told the Utah Board of Pardons Friday that church members talked him out of getting needed psychological help and also turned him against his parents.

"They didn't believe in therapy," Beals said.

The church was also allegedly bleeding Beals dry of cash. Beals contributed heavily to the church and went "beyond his means and into debt," said parole board chairman Pete Haun.

Scientology is a new-age religion founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. The church believes in self-healing and self-help via pseudo-psychological methods.

But by the time Beals killed his father - he had been hearing voices for about two years - he probably needed the help of a professional.

The crime occurred March 5, 1989 at the home of Beals' parents in Taylorsville. While urging their 32-year-old son to seek counseling, he went berserk.

Getting a butcher knife from the kitchen, he stabbed his mother, Lawana Beals, 51, several times.

When Beal's father, Arthur Don Beals, 55, tried to intervene, Beals stabbed him several times. His mother grabbed a baseball bat and struck Gary in the head several times to no avail.

When the baseball bat failed to stop Beals, Mrs. Beals fled the home to call police. Gary then shot his father to death with a .38-caliber handgun.

Beals said he had been carrying the gun with him all day because he believed "people" were after him.

"If I wouldn't have got involved with Scientology, I wouldn't have committed this crime," Beals told the parole board.

Charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder, Beals later pleaded "guilty but mentally ill" to manslaughter and was sentenced to 1 to 15 years in prison.

Beals first spent a year at the Utah State Hospital. After receiving the maximum benefit possible there, Beals was transferred to the Utah State Prison, where he has been about four months.

Letters to the parole board indicate Beals' mother has forgiven him, Mr. Haun said. She hopes he will come live with her when he is paroled.

The state hospital believes Beals can function in the community if he takes his medication and receives mental health therapy, Mr. Haun said.

But he wants Beals to spend another couple of years in prison to see how he adjusts. Beals will appear again before the board in January 1994.