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Murder suspect says she desired peace

A woman accused of smothering her ex-boyfriend to death testifies she was visiting to resolve his jealousy.

By CARY DAVIS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 6, 2002


NEW PORT RICHEY -- A defiant Samantha Beach took the stand Thursday and said she was no murderer.

Just the opposite, she said.

Never mind that she admitted smothering David Broshar's face with a pillow for 30 minutes. For one thing, she said, it wasn't her idea. Her boyfriend, Joseph Morales, ordered her to get the pillow, she said. What's more, she said, Morales already had beaten and choked Broshar to the point of unconsciousness. It's possible, she said, that Broshar might have been dead before she ever pressed the pillow to his face.

No, Beach said, she is a peacemaker, not a murderer.

Broshar, her ex-boyfriend, was jealous of Morales, and wanted to fight him, she said. Morales, who outweighed Broshar by some 75 pounds, was happy to oblige. So about 5 a.m. on Feb. 21, 2001, she drove Morales to Broshar's Port Richey apartment.

"My idea was for them to resolve their differences," Beach testified.

Beach, 28, is on trial this week for first-degree murder, and faces life in prison without parole if convicted. The jury is expected to begin deliberations today.

After prosecutors rested their case Thursday, Beach took the stand for 21/2 hours. She said Broshar, 39, was "my best friend, and I loved him with all my heart." She showed no emotion as she spoke of their relationship and the fact that she watched him die.

During a withering cross-examination by prosecutor Mike Halkitis, she turned defiant.

"I considered myself as having done nothing wrong," she said, brushing her brown hair from her shoulders.

"So that was an act of charity on your part?" Halkitis asked, referring to the act of smothering Broshar's face with the pillow.

Prosecutors say Broshar's death had nothing to do with a fight between two jealous men. They say Beach, unemployed and in dire financial straits, plotted to kill Broshar for his money and recruited Morales to help with the job. Morales, 30, is awaiting a February trial date for first-degree murder.

Beach was named as the sole beneficiary of Broshar's will and his life insurance policy. She knew Broshar had recently received $52,000 from a trust fund set up by his grandmother.

When she was arrested, investigators found Broshar's ATM card in Beach's purse. She used the ATM card to withdraw about $900 in the hours after the slaying, money she spent on a 1987 black Pontiac Firebird.

Also in her purse: Broshar's will.

Beach had an answer for that. After realizing Broshar was dead, she retrieved the will from his bedroom because she didn't want authorities to find any trace of her name in the apartment, she said.

She never tried to cash in on the will or the life insurance policy, she said.

"I didn't want any of David's money," she said.

But if Beach only intended to broker peace on the night of the slaying, Halkitis asked, why did she park her car behind Broshar's apartment, and not at the front door? Beach said she didn't want anyone to see her car.

And why, the prosecutor asked, did she not stop Morales from beating Broshar, who never threw a punch? She said she was scared of Morales.

"He never threatened you, did he?" Halkitis asked.

"No," she said.

And then Beach returned to her seat at the defense table, turned to the gallery and smiled at her family.

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