Posted: Jan 30, 2013 1:20 PM by Melissa Anderson - MTN News
Updated: Jan 30, 2013 1:37 PM
Mark Andrew Beachem will soon be sentenced for robbing Montana Lil's Casino in East Helena, and in an exclusive interview from jail, he shared with MTN News reporter Melissa Anderson how his life spiraled downhill.
Mark Andrew Beachem, 46, never had a criminal record, but within the span of several weeks during the summer of 2012, Beachem managed to rack up three felony charges for armed robbery.
"I robbed the place three times, we did a plea agreement, so they dropped one count, so I pled guilty to two," he said.
The surveillance videos taken from inside and outside the East Helena casino show Beachem disguised in a bandanna, with dark skin, some facial hair and a tattoo.
Two of the robberies were committed in the late afternoon with the first hit taking place around 5 a.m.
Beachem said he picked those times because he thought police would be busy doing something else.
What led him to commit these crimes?
"I had a nice apartment, things were going well, and then I sampled something out there called bath salts. And in less than a year I had nothing left. Absolutely nothing left. I had lied to and betrayed my friends, my relatives, to get money to pay rent to get more drugs, to the point of where I couldn't leech off anybody anymore. So, I figured, I'll just rob a casino," he said.
Beachem says bath salts are more potent than meth, and it took a great deal of money to support his addiction.
"It's probably the most horrific drug I've encountered or ever heard of. I don't know if you ever heard the term 'jonesing,' the desire for something after you've tried it. The addiction it's incredible. I would sit there and do $200 a day continuing to get high, even though I was already high because of that craving."