Date of Birth: October 2, 1958
Jeanette Beaulieu, the victim, was a 38-year-old
single woman. She knew Spears, who lived near San Diego, considered him
her "boyfriend," and would talk about their future together.
Spears, however, thought that she "wasn't that great
looking of a girl." Spears did visit Jeanette on several occasions, and
she purchased things for him. Apparently unbeknownst to Jeanette, Spears
was living with a girlfriend named Joann in California.
In December 1991, Jeanette took family leave from her
employer. On December 31, she purchased a one-way airplane ticket for
Spears to come to Phoenix January 2, 1992. Spears brought with him his
9mm Beretta handgun.
After Spears arrived in Phoenix, Jeanette purchased a
sleeping bag, withdrew $1,700 from an ATM, and had the title to her
truck notarized. She later used a charge card for a cash advance of
On Saturday afternoon, January 4, Spears called Joann
and told her that he would be driving back to California. When he
arrived, he had with him five guns that had belonged to Jeanette, two
sleeping bags, and almost $1,000 in cash, and was driving Jeanette's
On January 19, Jeanette's body was discovered in a
desert area, having been shot through the head with a medium-or large-caliber
bullet. Near where the body was found, officers found a shiny 9mm shell
casing, which was later identified as having been fired in Spears' 9mm
Presiding Judge: Cheryl K. Hendrix
Prosecutor: John Ditsworth
Start of Trial: November 23, 1992
Verdict: December 9, 1992
Sentencing: March 31, 1993
Prior criminal history
Mother loved him
Demeanor and conduct in court and while incarcerated
State v. Spears, 184 Ariz. 277, 908 P.2d 1062 (1996).
Spears v. Stewart, et. al., 267 F.3d 1026 (9th Cir. 2001),
amended and superseded by
Spears v. Stewart, et. al., 283 F.3d 992 (9th Cir. 2002).
Dial M For Maggots
Could Show When Murder Was Committed
A man awaiting
execution on Arizona's death row is pinning one of his final attempts at
salvation on a bunch of unlikely saviors: maggots.
Anthony Spears, 41, convicted of murdering Jeanette Beaulieu and dumping
her body in the desert, has maintained his innocence since his 1992
arrest. Now he's hoping a study of the maggots found on her body can
Originally scheduled to die June 28, Spears
was given a stay of execution on June 2 to pursue appeals.
Beaulieu's body was found in Jan. 1992 at a shooting range east of
Phoenix. She had been shot in the back of the head. Based on the
decomposition of her body, a medical examiner put the murder date at Jan.
However, forensic entomologist David Faulkner—who
recently examined the flesh-eating maggots found crushed and preserved
in Beaulieu's clothing—says the date of death is more likely between Jan.
10 and 12.
Spears was at home near San Diego on those
Faulkner, who is head of the entomology
department at the San Diego Natural History Museum, said the maggots
couldn't have been much older than 10 days when they were mummified in
clothing removed from the victim shortly after her body was found.
That would rule out Jan. 4 as a possible date for the
murder unless the body was frozen at some point, he said.
With capital punishment under growing national scrutiny, the case is a
twist on more traditional avenues of appeal, including DNA testing of
Studying the life span and development of
insects found at crime scenes can help determine the date of a victim's
A second forensic entomologist, Dr. Rich Merritt of
Michigan State University, is scheduled to view the maggot samples next
Lawyers for Spears will have to submit the new
maggot theory to the trial court if they hope to win his freedom.
The samples were not studied during Spears' 1992 trial. Faulkner and
Merritt were hired to look at Beaulieu's case by friends of Spears' wife,
Janet—who married Spears after serving as the foreman of the jury that
Though the jury unanimously convicted
Spears of first-degree murder, Janet Spears said she was never convinced
and told the judge she'd made a mistake the day after the verdict was
Spears was sentenced to death in 1993.
Pati Urias, a spokeswoman for the Arizona attorney general, said Spears'
conviction was fair.
Althogh Spears was not in Arizona
when Faulkner says Beaulieu was killed, Jan. 10-12, he was in the state
on Jan. 4, the day the state says she was killed. The state said Spears
motive was robbery.
He had flown to Phoenix on Jan. 2
with a one-way airline ticket purchased by the 39-year-old Beaulieu, and
he brought a 9mm handgun with him, according to court documents.
A shell casing determined to be from that gun was
found among the thousands of others at the shooting range a week-and-a-half
after Beaulieu's body was found.
Spears drove back to
California on Jan. 4 in a truck he bought from Beaulieu. San Diego
authorities found a notarized title from Beaulieu in the glove
Anthony Marshall Spears