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Accused Sniper Dies In Jail

October 7, 1987

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ A man accused of killing three people and wounding two others on city streets during a drunken shooting rampage died of a heart attack in his jail cell Wednesday, officials said.

Robert L. Beebe, 55, who had been jailed since his surrender to police in the early morning hours of Sept. 26, died just hours before a grand jury was to convene in his case, said his lawyer, Terence Kindlon.

Kindlon said Beebe had not been able to work for six years because of hypertension and heart problems and spent his time in jail thinking about the shootings.

″He was very depressed, remorseful and concerned for the people who were hurt,″ Kindlon said. ″That was always his first and last question, ’How are they doing? How are they doing - the people at the hospital?‴

Beebe was arrested after five passersby were gunned down in a barrage of bullets from a .30-caliber rifle near his house. Kindlon said Beebe had lost his head in an ″alcoholic blackout″ after consuming as many as seven six- packs of beer and arguing with his wife.

The father of six had pleaded innocent to three counts of murder and six of attempted murder last week.

Beebe was found dead in his cell just after 7 a.m. by guards at the Albany County Jail. An autopsy by coroner William Loetterle determined that Beebe had suffered a heart attack.

″Every time I called him (in jail) a nurse was in the vicinity. They were being careful with his medication and they were treating him like a special person,″ Kindlon said.

The two wounded men, Michael Tune, 29, and John Curtin, 51, both of Albany, remained in critical condition Wednesday at the Albany Medical Center, according to hospital spokeswoman.

After Beebe’s surrender, police found an arms cache including two rifles, a shotgun and a cross-bow inside the apartment where he lived with his wife and children.

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