by Tavia D. Green
CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — Kristin Wilkerson described in court Thursday how her roommate, Shirley Beck, was hung up, gagged and continuously beaten for four hours, sustaining multiple kicks, punches and strikes with a metal pole, a rod and whip-like devices at the hands of three other roommates.
Clarksville Police found Beck, 39, dead in the back room of her home at 108 Wilson Court on June 26, and police have charged four of her six roommates with criminal homicide.
Thursday afternoon, preliminary hearings were held for Derek M. Vicchitto, 36, Matthew Lee Reynolds, 27, Cynthia Dianne Skipper, 46, and Alphonso Jay Richardson II, 24.
Skipper entered the courtroom in a wheelchair and was hooked up to an oxygen tank. The four sat with their attorneys during the almost three-hour hearing.
The biggest question was whether Beck was murdered during a BDSM session (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) that went too far, or if she was brutally beaten to death and murdered in cold blood at the hands of the people she’d shared a home with for only one month.
Robert Nash, assistant district attorney, called numerous law enforcement agents to testify, but Wilkerson, an eyewitness, offered a good deal of insight into what led to Beck’s death.
Wilkerson, who lived in the home for a year and a half, said Beck was known to be a “house slave.” She desired to get into the BDSM lifestyle, which Vicchitto and Skipper were involved in together.
Beck called Skipper her “mistress” and was tasked with cleaning the kitchen, taking out trash and walking the dogs. Beck was called “Tuna” by Vicchitto and Skipper.
Lead Detective Eric Ewing said during his investigation he learned that Beck was involved in BDSM to an extent and had previously been another woman’s house slave.
Reynolds and Beck had moved into the house a month prior to the her death, and Wilkerson said she had, on several occasions, seen Beck “punished” and “disciplined” by the couple and complying in a submissive manner. At other times, she’d seen Beck defend herself.
Beck was beaten on June 25 by her roommates, but on June 26 the motives were different, according to testimony.
Detective Ewing testified that Richardson admitted to him that he went into a rage after he suspected Beck was trying to kill him and his girlfriend.
“He described the victim as the house slave, and Cynthia (Skipper) was charged with punishing the victim,” Ewing said. “This particular night, Cynthia had charged him with watching over the victim during kitchen and dishes duty. He said he checked one of his cups and it had boric acid on it. He checked another one of his cups and another one.
“He said he snapped. His fiancee, Ashley, was blind, and he felt that the victim was trying to poison Ashley. He said it made him very angry and he snapped. He screamed and woke up the house. He was screaming, ‘Are you a trying to kill me?’ He told me he had anger issues and he had beaten the victim. He told me started hitting her with his hand.”
Richardson also described hitting Beck with his fist and a bamboo rod, and hitting her on the buttocks with a metal pole. ...