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    Wednesday, June 19, 2024

    Man to get 30 years prison in fatal Norwich stabbing

    A former Massachusetts man pleaded guilty to murder on Thursday in the 2020 stabbing death of his partner in Norwich, opting to accept a 30-year prison sentence instead of going to trial.

    Jeffrey Stovall, 27, entered guilty pleas in New London Superior Court to charges of murder and violation of a protective order in connection with the Jan. 18, 2020, death of 33-year-old Jason Beck of Norwich.

    Stovall, at times pausing before answering questions, stood before New London Superior Court Judge John Newson as members of Beck’s family sat behind him in the courtroom gallery.

    Beck’s mother, Jeanette Kenney of Norwich, was in tears outside the courtroom afterward. She reminisced about the last time she saw her son, “laughing and enjoying each other’s company” on a morning that included breakfast and haircuts. She would receive a call from police about her son’s death later that same night.

    Kenney, who has been in court dozens of times over the past four years, said she has been waiting for some kind of justice and was relieved to see the case resolved after so long.

    “I did not want him to leave the courtroom without that murder charge,” Kenney said. “My son was stabbed 11 times.”

    While no amount of prison time for Stovall will bring her son back, Kenney said she is happy to see the case end without the horror of reliving Beck’s brutal death, details of which would have been part of testimony if the case had gone to trial.

    Assistant State’s Attorney Christa Baker, who prosecuted the case and secured the plea agreement with Stovall, said Norwich police received a 911 call from Beck on the evening of Jan. 18, 2020, telling emergency dispatchers he was being stabbed. Police reports show Beck was begging Stovall to stay away from him even as the attack continued.

    Police arrived at Beck’s Sandy Lane apartment to be greeted by Stovall, who led police to Beck, who was lying on the kitchen floor. He was conscious but unable to speak. Stovall would later admit to the killing, telling police it started with an argument over Stovall’s domestic violence case that had led to Beck securing a protective order barring him Stovall from having contact with him.

    Stovall said when the argument got physical, Beck threatened to call police which led Stovall to grab a knife and stab Beck, police said.

    Beck died at the hospital less than an hour after the attack of multiple stab wounds.

    Beck and Stovall had met years earlier on an online dating app when Stovall was 15. Family said Stovall had lied about his age, and Beck initially broke off the relationship when he found out Stovall’s real age. The two later reconnected.

    Beck’s stepfather, Edward Kenney, said Beck was a “gentle soul,” who was low key and never yelled or acted out in anger.

    Edward Kenney said he thinks that Beck had reconnected with Stovall after the domestic violence incident because he was the type of person to forgive.

    “That’s what a victim is,” Edward Kenney said.

    Stovall will be back in court for sentencing on Aug. 8.

    g.smith@theday.com

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