A St. Charles Parish judge on Tuesday set bail at $1 million for the man accused of killing Kenner teenager Jorion White.
Daniel Lee Beckley — the longtime boyfriend of White’s mother — was arrested Monday on one count each of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice.
Beckley, 40, is accused of killing White, 16, and then using his car to dispose of her body, which was discovered in a relatively remote area of St. Rose on April 24.
White’s mother had left her daughter in Beckley’s care at their home in Kenner when she went to work at her overnight job April 21. The girl was reported missing the next day after neither showing up at her high school in the morning nor returning home in the evening.
After White’s body was found in a drainage ditch two days later, Beckley was brought in for questioning by St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives but was released pending further investigation.
St. Charles Coroner Dr. Brian Brogle’s office later determined White was the victim of a homicide, though it could not immediately identify the manner in which she was killed. Detectives arrested Beckley on Monday.
Authorities have not said where they believe White was slain before her body was recovered in what Sheriff Greg Champagne described as an “advanced state of decomposition.” But Champagne said investigators had gathered evidence implicating Beckley in her death.
Champagne suggested some of that evidence might be surveillance footage obtained by authorities from local homes or businesses.
Multiple residents and business owners said Tuesday that investigators last week canvassed an area south of where White’s body was found, asking for images from their security camera systems.
On Tuesday, during a hearing conducted via teleconference, 29th Judicial District Court Judge Tim Marcel in Hahnville appointed the St. Charles Parish Public Defenders Office to represent Beckley.
Marcel also tentatively set follow-up hearings in the case for June 1 and June 22.
Last week, before he was arrested, Beckley told The New Orleans Advocate that he had nothing to do with White’s death, but he acknowledged investigators had treated his assertions of innocence skeptically.
The Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday declined to release the probable-cause affidavit supporting Beckley’s arrest warrant, saying that “doing so could have a detrimental effect on the continuing investigation.”