Tualatin man convicted of killing mother

Garth Patrick Beams (left) Courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Wendy Jane Henson
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Garth Patrick Beams of Tualatin was sentenced to life in prison by a Washington County circuit court judge last month for beating his 74-year-old mother to death with a baseball bat in 2018.

Beams was convicted on Aug. 25 of second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon in the attack on his mother, author and screenwriter Wendy Henson, and subsequently sentenced by circuit court Judge Ricardo Menchaca. He will be eligible for parole after 25 years. 

On July 19, 2018, Beams, then 47, called 911, telling the dispatcher he had “clobbered” his mother inside their Southwest 72 Avenue Home. He remained on the call for 15 minutes, complaining about his mother. When asked to render aid to Henson, Beams told the dispatcher he wasn’t interested in helping.

Tualatin police found Henson inside the home with multiple head injuries. She was transported to Oregon Health and Science University Hospital, where she died later from the injuries.

Beams, who lived with his mother, was diagnosed in 1995 with schizophrenia and was the subject of a conservatorship, according to court records.

“This was a cruel, unprovoked attack on a disabled, elderly woman,” Washington County Deputy District Attorney Rayney Meisel said in her closing argument. “Garth Beams killed Wendy Henson. He did it out of frustration. He did it out of rage. He killed her. Brutally, intentionally, eternally.”

Henson is survived by another son, Michael Beams, who also lived in the home at the time of the attack.

“Garth’s crime shattered what was left of our family,” Michael Beams told the court. “There are only broken pieces to pick up. I feel stuck in a boxing match, fighting against bitterness and outrage. In addition to dealing with the grief, moving out of the house was economically implausible for me. In a nasty twist of fate, every day, to this day, I have to walk past the location where [my brother] felled mom.”

Henson, a former college screenwriting instructor, was the author of multiple plays, screenplays, novellas and a textbook.

Her 2018 novella, Honor Song, was adapted from an earlier award-winning screenplay.

Henson was passionate about the arts and loved talking about movies, writing and the actors who brought scripts to life. 

She wrote the reoccurring movie review column, Now Playing, for this paper.

Read former Tualatin Life publisher Jonathan Crane’s “Second Take” tribute to Wendy Jane Henson at tinyurl.com/3hr8afcj.

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