A St. Charles Parish judge on Friday found a Kenner man guilty of killing his longtime girlfriend's daughter and dumping her body in a St. Rose drainage ditch last year, the conclusion of a case that also involved disturbing allegations of sexual abuse, District Attorney Joel Chaisson said.
Daniel Beckley, 41, faces mandatory life imprisonment following his convictions on counts of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice in the death of Jorion White, 16, with whom he was accused of having sex.
He waived his right to a jury trial, choosing for his fate to be decided by 29th Judicial District Court Judge Tim Marcel, who heard the case over four days.
Though Beckley opted against testifying in his own defense, he denied killing White or sexually abusing her in a videotaped interview with police before his arrest.
Beckley's semen, however, was found on White's body, police said. And that interview — played in court this week — apparently made investigators suspect he may have killed her because he was jealous over text messages he claimed suggested White was sleeping with multiple boys.
"This verdict cannot bring (White) back, but it can bring healing and the knowledge that this man will never be able to prey on another child again," Chaisson's office said in a statement Friday.
Afterward, White's father, Joe White, said watching Beckley's interview during the trial sickened him. In the interview, Beckley also accused Joe White and his relatives of disliking him because Beckley financially supported the teenager and her mother.
Joe White said he believed Beckley's feuds with him as well as with White's brother, Darrius, were meant to position him as the lone male presence in Jorion's home.
"He tried to ruin her character ... and my family's," White said of the interview. "But we got our justice for Jorion."
The case dates back to April 21, 2016, when Jorion White's mother, Michelle Price, left for her overnight job, leaving her daughter in Beckley's care at the Kenner home they all shared.
White failed to show up at school the next morning or return home in the afternoon, and relatives began searching for her. There was testimony during the trial that Beckley discouraged them from handing out missing-person flyers, saying it could cause whoever had White to harm her.
A body that turned out to be White's was found in a remote part of St. Rose on April 24, 2016. As many as 150 people showed up at White's home after her death was confirmed. Authorities later concluded she had been killed, but her body was too decomposed to determine how.
Some of the people in the crowd at White's home tried to break in and shouted that he had murdered the teen. One of Price's relatives told a cop at the scene that she feared Beckley may have killed White because the girl believed she was pregnant with his child.
There was no evidence suggesting White was pregnant. But authorities cited plenty of reasons to charge Beckley, including his semen on her body and extra-wide tire tracks found near White's body that matched those on his vehicle, in which White's blood was found.
A search of Beckley's car further turned up a plastic cap that perfectly fit onto the S-shaped hook of a green bungee cord found near White's body.
And surveillance video showed Beckley's car had been in the general area of where White's body had been discarded — a spot he never mentioned visiting when talking to detectives.
Beckley was tried by Assistant District Attorneys John Chaisson and Howie Peters. He was represented by lawyers Fenwick Swann and Jake Lemmon.
Suspected by many neighbors and relatives of sexually assaulting his longtime girlfriend's d…