Teenagers Edward Bennett and Joseph Beeson, charged with the unprovoked murder of a convenience store clerk, were heavily into devil worship and white supremacy, according to a published report.
The two also experimented with drugs, including heroin and LSD, and sometimes cruised Utah Valley in a 1950s gray hearse while listening to a sadistic brand of rock 'n' roll music, the Las Vegas Review-Journal said in a lengthy story based on interviews with friends and police in Lehi and American Fork.The paper said Beeson, then 17, and Bennett, 19, were high school dropouts loosely affiliated with about 12 other Utah Valley teenagers known as skinheads.
Ironically, it was one skinhead, Bennett's lifelong friend, Jeff Chidester, who provided police crucial information implicating the two in the killing Feb. 9 of Las Vegas convenience store clerk Michelle Moore.
Chidester, the paper said, lived somewhat of a double life among the skinheads, serving sometimes as a satanic fellow traveler and other times as police informant. He stands to get $32,000 in reward money put up by Las Vegas businesses if Bennett and Beeson are convicted.
Chidester was an informant for the American Fork Police Department and in January set up a drug bust for Detective Gary Caldwell that netted a sizable amount of LSD and narcotics paraphernalia. Beeson, Bennett and three other teenagers were arrested in that bust.
Two months later, Chidester told police of a conversation he had with Bennett at Pleasant Grove Park.
Chidester said Bennett confessed to shooting Moore in the face in an aborted robbery attempt.
Caldwell called Las Vegas police, who had run into a dead end in their investigation of the slaying, and Bennett and Beeson were taken into custody the next day.
Bennett's father, Gordon Bennett, a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said he can't believe his son was involved in the slaying.
"He is not a vicious, blood-thirsty killer," Bennett told the Review-Journal. "All we know is the boy we loved."
Bennett said he disbelieves the accusations of devil worship, drug dealing and murder.
"He was as well-behaved in this family as anyone else until the day he was arrested,' he said. "None of those things ever happened in this house."