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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Bean convicted of second-degree murder in Foreman death

After three days of testimony, it took jurors only 20 minutes to determine that Kim Bean killed Carol Foreman in her Bradenton Beach home last February.

Bean, 46, also of Bradenton Beach, was convicted of second-degree murder. Judge Ed Nicholas sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"What you did was horrible and inhumane," Nicholas said. "Mr. Bean, I hope your live a long, long life, and I hope you think about the fact of your taking Carol Foreman's life every day of your long life."

Assistant State Attorney Brian Iten provided expert testimony and forensic data to prove that Bean struck Foreman, 56, with an unopened wine bottle and then kicked her in the face and head after a dispute over crack cocaine.

But perhaps the most damning evidence against Bean was his own words, recorded on a taped interview with Bradenton Beach Police Det. Sgt. Lenard Diaz and Detective Mark Holden of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, in which Bean confessed to killing Foreman.

Jurors were unswayed by Assistant Public Defender Peter Belmont's argument that Foreman had approached Bean with the wine bottle and threatened him after he helped himself to some of her crack. Belmont said Bean was defending himself when he took the bottle from her and, when she continued to threaten him, struck her using "justifiable force" to contain her.

Bean has 30 days to appeal the sentence.

The tape

Foreman, a cook at the Bridge Street Pier and Cafe, was found by ex-boyfriend Clifford Wayne Stine shortly after 9 a.m. Feb. 4. He went to her home on Third Street North to drive her to his sister's house, where Foreman was to do some housework as partial repayment for $750 a few days earlier.

Stine called police when he discovered her body.

Police quickly determined foul play was involved in her death and called forensic experts and the medical examiner's office. Preliminary examination indicated that Foreman had been struck on the head, and an unusual pattern of odd-shaped ridges was evident on her face.

Diaz and others began interviewing neighbors and friends of Foreman's, interviews that eventually led to Bean's apartment on Second Street.

Bean's girlfriend took a note from Diaz asking Bean to call him when the commercial fisherman returned home. Bean called Diaz at 3 a.m. Feb. 5, and an interview was arranged.

Diaz decided to pick Bean up early at his home for the interview at the police station. As they were leaving, Diaz asked what shoes Bean was wearing the previous days and, with Bean's permission, took them as evidence. The shoes had a distinctive ripple pattern on the soles.

The interview with Bean lasted almost four hours.

Yes, he and Foreman were friends, Bean said. He had gone to her house and they had smoked crack cocaine. There was another man there, a man named Tyler, and there was a black man with dreadlocks who Bean thought was the drug dealer who had delivered the crack. He had left earlier, driven off in a white car. There was another man, also black with dreadlocks, in the car. He must have come back later, after he left, and killed her, Bean said.

After more than three hours of back-and-forth, the following was recorded on the tape.

"Please don't arrest me," Bean said on tape. "It's some other guy. Give me a couple days. I don't want to go to jail."

Diaz: "You ran from your dead friend's body, and your footprints are on her face. You say it's some other guy, but I think you're just trying to cover your ass here."

Holden: "Why don't you give this some closure. Why waste everybody's time and tons and tons of money when you know what's going to happen. You know this mysterious person is a lie."

Diaz: Let's finish it. Finish it the right way. Finish it with the truth."

Bean: "I sat with Carol at the table, smoking. I took the crack pipe, and she said, ‘Put that back!' I went to light it, and she came at me with a wine bottle. She said, "You can't do that, put my [stuff] down.' I grabbed the bottle and hit her, and she fell down. She grabbed my leg and tried to bite me, and I kicked her once, and I left.

"I'm so scared.

"I was raised to be good. I was supposed to be able to make it, succeed, have respect. I wasn't supposed to be running around in the middle of the night getting crack."

Diaz and Holden asked where the wine bottle was, and Bean said it was in his backpack along with her purse back at his apartment. The backpack contained an unopened bottle of white wine, a purse with blood on it, and a bottle of prescription pills that were later identified as belonging to Foreman's ex-boyfriend. Several of the pills were found in the blood around her body by forensic technicians.

None of the money Foreman had just received was ever found.

The medical examiner

Dr. Russell Vega is the chief medical examiner for the 12th District of Florida, which includes Manatee County. He arrived on the scene at 2 p.m. Feb. 4.

He said during his testimony he observed blood throughout the kitchen and dining room area and determined that there was some injury to Foreman that took place while she was either sitting or standing by the table, and that she sustained other injuries while she was on the floor. He also noticed the yellow tablets in the blood by Foreman's head.

He estimated the time of death to have been approximately 12 hours earlier.

He conducted an autopsy the next day. Vega's conclusion was that Foreman had sustained at least four separate blows to the left side of her face, two to her forehead, and one to the back of her head, which he said would be consistent with her head hitting a hard surface, such as a table edge or the linoleum floor of the apartment.

Some of the blows did not look like they could have come from a fist, he added, but would be consistent with an impact with a wine bottle. The patterns left on her face did look like the print from the sole of a shoe, and Vega said he did observe Bean's shoes and said the pattern appeared to match.

Foreman had trace amounts of cocaine and alcohol in her blood and urine, he said.

Vega concluded Foreman also had a subdural hemotoma - a blood clot - in her brain that caused her death. He said the official cause of death was blunt-impact head injury and subdural hemotoma.

The arguments

Prosecutor Iten's closing remarks to the jury stressed the intensity of the attack by Bean against Foreman. He reminded the jury that she had been struck at least six times, "three times a shoe hit her face when she was already on the floor, she a 133-pound woman, 5'6" tall, 56 years old. Where was the threat? He had already disarmed her when he took the bottle and struck her, then when she tried to bite him, he kicked her."

He said that Bean had ATM receipts in his backpack indicating he tried to withdraw money late in the afternoon but was denied on both occasions.

He said the wine bottle was found in Bean's backpack, along with the bloody purse and the blood and DNA on Bean's shoes matched that of Forman.

He speculated that the pills spilled out of the purse onto the floor while Bean and Foreman were fighting over it.

Bean, Iten said, "was indifferent to human life, to leave his friend there on the floor with a concussion, dying but not dead."

On Bean's behalf, Belmont said that there was "no doubt that a tragedy occurred last year in the life of Carol Foreman. It started out as a night among friends, and it ended up as a tragedy that tangled up with drugs and a tragic death and, 36 hours later, having Kim Bean tell what happened."

He said the law on second-degree murder was complicated, and stressed the element of the law that calls for the jury to determine without reasonable doubt that the death was caused by the acts of "a depraved mind."

He said there were several elements of the case that police and others failed to follow up on - no attempt was made to find the drug dealers, other people at Foreman's apartment during the evening were briefly interviewed, and a tip that one of the people present that night had been spending more money that usual had been dropped.

He said that Bean did take the life of Foreman, but he should not be charged with second-degree murder.

He argued that he acted in self defense, and urged jurors to weigh the elements of justifiable force in Bean's defending himself against Foreman.

The verdict

The six-member jury deliberated for 20 minutes before rendering a verdict of guilty to second-degree murder to Bean in the death of Foreman. Judge Nicholas sentenced him to life in prison without parole.

He has 30 days to appeal the verdict and sentencing.

The Bean murder trial is the first murder conviction in Bradenton Beach history.