Mark Gribbin has been convicted of the 1990 murder of Leo Beauregard in Florida. According to court documents Mark Gribbin would fatally stab to death Leo Beauregard inside of his apartment. When police were searching the apartment no valuables appeared to be missing and the only piece of evidence was an empty beer can. Nearly thirty years later that single beer can would be linked to Mark Gribbin who would be arrested and later convicted of the murder. Mark Gribbin had previously spent time in prison in both Michigan and Ohio.
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It took North Palm Beach police 30 years to make an arrest in the fatal stabbing of Leo Beauregard. It took a jury about three hours Tuesday to return a guilty verdict against the man they arrested.
A jury convicted Mark Steven Gribbin on a charge of first-degree murder. Investigators linked him to the 1990 homicide through DNA evidence that defense attorneys called into question because police allowed a psychic to handle it during their investigation.
Police say Beauregard died June 29, 1990, at his apartment on Paradise Harbor Boulevard, off U.S. 1 near Northlake Boulevard. The 68-year-old man died from a 7-inch stab wound to his neck
Mark Gribbin, 58, sat silently as the verdict was read and later hugged his attorneys before being fingerprinted and led away by Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputies. Circuit Judge Daliah Weiss immediately sentenced him to life in prison
“Justice sometimes takes a long time. In this case, it took nearly 32 years,” the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office said in a prepared statement Tuesday. “But it is justice for the victim.”
The state’s case focused largely on a spotless, empty Busch beer can found on a table covered with blood splatter.
North Palm Beach police investigators reopened the case in 2018 after the agency had created a cold-case squad. In 2019, PBSO reported that DNA taken from the mouth of the can was a probable match to Mark Gribbin.
“The killer had that beer, and the killer is sitting right there,” Assistant State Attorney Aleathea McRoberts told jurors during closing arguments.
Prosecutors told jurors that the two men knew each other, noting items found in Beauregard’s home after the murder included a calendar that had Gribbin’s birthday on it and a handwritten note that had prison and inmate information from a Michigan prison where Gribbin had previously served time.
Public records show that Mark Gribbin spent time in prison in Michigan and Ohio following convictions for burglary and robbery.
According to police records, Gribbin had been incarcerated in Michigan in early 1990. After being released, he had his parole transferred to West Palm Beach in June of that year and lived with his mother for about two months, about 5 miles from Beauregard’s home.
While speaking to North Palm Beach investigators at his home in Ohio in early 2020, Gribbin said he spent time in West Palm Beach in the late 1980s but denied knowing Beauregard or having ever been in his home
The Palm Beach County Public Defender’s Office, which represented Gribbin, argued that North Palm Beach police investigators in 1990 lacked sufficient knowledge about DNA to process the scene properly.
Assistant Public Defender Courtney Wilson also told jurors that the village’s police department failed to maintain evidence records properly. She pointed to the department’s decision in 1992 to send the beer can and a blood-stained towel recovered recovered from scene to a psychic
At trial, the Public Defender’s Office showed jurors a video recording of psychic Noreen Reiner handling the items without gloves. Wilson said there was no record how the items were returned to North Palm Beach, or where they were kept prior to the beer can being examined for DNA in 2010.
“This is the last time we see or know where that beer can is for the next 18 years,” Wilson said during closing arguments. “They have the burden of showing you where it has been every step of the way, and they simply can’t do it.”
Wilson also noted that DNA recovered from the towel remains unidentified.
“That belongs to the actual killer,” she said. “The police don’t always get it right, and in this case they didn’t. They have not presented evidence, proof, that Mr. Gribbin killed Mr. Beauregard, and they cannot provide evidence.
In his rebuttal argument, Assistant State Attorney Reid Scott addressed concerns about Reiner’s handling of evidence, noting that her DNA was not found on the items.
He described the beer can as a “12-ounce problem” for the defense, noting the lack of blood on the can despite the presence of blood spatter on the table.
“His DNA is on the the mouth (of the can) because he drank from it,” Scott said.