FONTANA — James Newman Hood, a Newport Beach developer accused of fatally shooting a man who had been acquitted of killing Hood's wife, was arraigned Thursday in San Bernardino County Municipal Court.
Hood, 48, is charged with murdering Bruce Beauchamp, 32, of Fontana and, if found guilty, could be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, said San Bernardino County Deputy Dist. Atty. Clark Hansen.
He is being held without bail at the San Bernardino County West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga. A bail hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Hood maintained in a jailhouse interview Wednesday that he shot Beauchamp, a former employee, in self-defense Monday at the Mission Plaza shopping center Hood owns just outside Fontana.
Prosecutors doubt the claim. "The physical evidence does not coincide with his statements," Hansen said, declining to elaborate.
Investigators found two guns in Hood's office at the strip mall, one registered to Hood and the other not registered, Hansen said. Hood had been commuting daily from Newport Beach to the Mission Plaza mall, which he was trying to lease out to store owners.
In the interview, Hood also said that he did not kill Beauchamp to avenge his wife's death. Bonnie Jean Hood, 46, was shot in August, 1990, at Camp Nelson Lodge, which she owned, in the southern Sierras. A Tulare County jury acquitted the Fontana man, who had said he was at Camp Nelson that night but left for home before his employer's wife was killed.
Hood said in the interview that Beauchamp came to his office at the mall Monday morning to discuss a reward for returning industrial equipment he and his brother-in-law, Gary Lynn Spray, allegedly had stolen from Mission Plaza.
Spray was arrested Feb. 6 and pleaded guilty Feb. 26 to receiving stolen property and extortion and was sentenced to state prison for two years, according to officials.