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Paroled murder convict back in custody after Utah Co. high-speed chase; intended ‘to go out in blaze of glory’

Paroled Murder Convict Back In Custody After Utah Co. High-speed Chase; Intended 'to Go Out In Blaze Of Glory'Beau Moody Heaps. Photo: Utah Department of Corrections

UTAH COUNTY, Utah, Feb. 14, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) Police say a man convicted decades ago of murder and more recently wanted on a parole violation led officers on a high-speed chase Monday night before being taken into custody Tuesday morning. Beau Heaps, 37, was taken into custody and returned to prison early Tuesday morning. According to Utah Department of Corrections spokesperson Maria Peterson, Adult Parole & Probation officials put out an attempt-to-locate order on Heaps, who was considered armed and dangerous, on Monday afternoon after learning of provocative comments he had made.

Among them was a Facebook post hinting that his time on earth was coming to an end, and that he intended to go out in a blaze of glory.

Paroled Murder Convict Back In Custody After Utah Co. High-speed Chase; Intended 'to Go Out In Blaze Of Glory'

The post reportedly followed agency contact with Heaps on Friday regarding possible parole violations on his part. Peterson said it was only a few hours after the alert went out that Springville police were notified of a vehicle matching the description of Heaps 1992 Chevy pickup in the parking lot of a local Walmart. The driver reportedly left before officers arrived. About 20 minutes later, Utah Highway Patrol troopers spotted the pickup northbound on Interstate 15. Troopers were unable to pull it over, and the chase began.

UHP spokesman Sgt. Todd Royce said Heaps reached speeds of 80 to 95 mph during the short chase. A spike strip was being placed further north when the suspect exited I-15 and drove east, to Orem. Since the suspect was driving at speeds estimated at 65 mph on city streets, officers cut off the chase for public safety reasons, Royce said. Later on, the abandoned pickup was located near Lions Park, in Provo. A containment area was established by Orem and Provo police officers, but the suspect was not located.

A few hours later, Heaps reportedly walked into a Provo hospital seeking treatment. The hospital security officer, who also works for the Provo Police Department, had been listening to radio exchanges all evening, and recognized Heaps as the man being sought. The officer alerted police, who took Heaps into custody. Heaps was first sentenced to prison in 1997 after being convicted for the first-degree murder of John Freitag, 38, of Orem. Prosecutors at the time said Heaps, then 17, did not fire the fatal shot, but did instigate the gang-related crime after he came to believe Freitag was going to become a drug informant. Heaps was sentenced to five years to life. He was paroled in June of 2012, and returned to custody in December of 2013 on charges of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

Heaps was paroled a second time in August of 2014, and was returned to custody in April of 2015 for reasons not specified in an email from the Utah Department of Corrections. His third parole was in March of 2016, and he was returned to custody the next month. Heaps fourth and most recent parole was in September of 2016.

Agencies involved in Tuesday s overnight incident included the Springville, Provo and Orem police departments, the Utah Highway Patrol, and the Department of Transportation, which provided a helicopter to help with an aerial search.

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