Sheriff's deputies in Aiken County have released the first of two 911 calls made the day of the shooting on Holly Lane. It is the voice of one of the victims shot. Investigators are using the tapes to fully investigate what triggered the tragedy, and to find out more details about what went on inside of the home.
Aiken authorities said a man angry over his pending divorce, 61-year-old Alton Beasley, shot his two adult daughters to death, 47-year-old Elizabeth Beasley and 36-year-old Anna Loebsack, and a female friend of Elizabeth's, before committing suicide.
Lieutenant David Turno says Alton's wife, Willa Beasley, was also on the scene but wasn't injured. Additionally, the Aiken County Coroner says Bill and Mabel Beasley, the grandparents of the sisters, were on the scene and uninjured.
We're told the incident happened about 1:08pm Tuesday on Holly Lane, which is near the Aiken golf course.
The shooting follows a family court hearing on Tuesday morning in which it was determined that a family home in Anderson would be sold.
Alton had been separated from his wife. They had been married almost 40 years before the separation. There was a restraining order keeping the couple apart as well.
Court documents outline the deterioration of the 39-year marriage between Alton and Willa Beasley.
Willa Beasley's husband accused her of violent attacks against him, their daughters, even a dog. "I have never abused my wife," Alton Beasley said in an affidavit. "She was the abuser." He went on to describe physical assaults by his wife, dinnerware being thrown at him and daughter Elizabeth, his daughter Anna slapped in the face, and he says, an incident in which his wife tried to kill a grown Doberman with a claw hammer.
Willa Beasley says her husband ran up the couple's credit cards, refused to work, spent her retirement money and as she put it, "stayed drunk the whole time."
In other documents, Al Beasley's 65-year-old wife says the marriage had been "full of ups and downs since nearly the beginning."
She says her husband had always been a heavy drinker and that she was scared of him because he had been physically abusing her - hitting her in her back, leaving bruises on her.
Willa Beasley says she had to leave him due to mental and physical abuse.
She told the court if she did not leave, "I don't believe that I would be alive much longer."
In statements filed to support her claims, friends also describe Al Beasley's drinking, the bruises they saw on Willa's body, and Al's inability to keep a job. They also saw her losing weight, having hearing and communication problems. But some said when Willa went out to restaurants, she would eat "like she is starving."
In a court affidavit three months ago, Elizabeth Beasley wrote of her dad, "He is an unstable person and I am concerned of his next move."
His wife's attorney adds that Alton had become aggressive with her Tuesday morning, and the attorney had to step between them.
After the morning meeting, family members went to their grandmother's home on Holly Lane in Aiken to have lunch. Mr. Beasley showed up approximately an hour later. We've found he was living at a house in Aiken less than 10 miles from the grandmother's home.
Coroner Tim Carlton says Alton confronted Anna and then shot her twice. He also apparently shot Elizabeth twice and her friend once, and himself.
Alton Beasley died on the scene, as did Anna. Elizabeth was pronounced dead at the hospital, and the friend, Eddie Pruitt, 47, of Townsville, was treated at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital in Augusta. Pruitt has been released.
She later told a friend that Mr. Beasley looked like "Charles Manson."
WIS News 10 spoke to the family of Pruitt. They want people to know she is recovering as well as can be expected.
She will heal physically, but it's the mental healing they are worried about. And they ask that you keep them in your prayers.
Funeral arrangements for both women are scheduled for this Saturday in Aiken.
Toxicology tests are pending on Alton Beasley and the coroner says alcohol is considered to be a contributing factor in this event.
The incident has shocked neighbors. One of the Beasley's neighbors says she remembers when the family was happy. "I just had a very good relationship with them," says Holly Spencer, who lives across the street from the Beasley family home and ranch in Aiken, that's now vacant.
Spencer remembers when sisters Elizabeth and Anna lived there peacefully with their parents. By all accounts the Beasleys were a typical, friendly family. "It's beyond comprehension to me, really truly beyond comprehension," she says. "I knew they were having trouble as a family, but this is not anything I think anyone saw coming."
Spencer says, "For a father to do this to his own children is beyond belief. It's too horrific to think about."