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Mother And Her Son Murdered Her Husband As He Slept In Bed Over $1,500 Debt
Bill Beatty raised his stepson, Andrew Norman, from a young age, but he and his wife, Martha, started arguing about Norman once he became an adult. Those arguments soon turned deadly.
Martha Beatty always looked out for her son, Andy Norman, even if it meant stealing money from her husband, Bill. But scared of what Bill would do when he found that out, the mother and son murdered him over a $1,500 debt.
Bradford Bill Beatty was born in 1944 and grew up in Ohio, where he was mostly raised by his grandfather.
“He always had a smile. My father always looked like he had something up his sleeve, like he had a trick or a little prank,” daughter Anne Luxon told “Snapped,” airing Sundays at 6/5c on Oxygen.
In 1964, Bill married his high school sweetheart, Sandra Tucker. He worked as a long-haul trucker, and the time away from home took its toll on the marriage. They divorced in the early 1970s but he remained close with his children.
Bill later changed careers and became a driving instructor. That was how, in 1982, he met 37-year-old Martha Lance: She was the mother of one of his students. Martha had two children, a teenage daughter and a young boy named Andy.
After dating for a year, Bill and Martha were married. Her daughter no longer lived at home but Bill enjoyed playing father to young Andy.
“He’d been raised by Bill since he was about 4 years old. Bill was an excellent father and role model for Andy,” former prosecutor Bill Gross told “Snapped.”
In 1989, Bill, Martha, and Andy moved to Mascotte, Florida, where Bill got a job managing a gas station and convenience store. Martha sometimes worked alongside him.
“Martha was pleasant. She struck you as a country girl. She could be loud and sunny or she could be moody and quiet,” said former employee and Beatty family friend Gail, who asked that her last name not be used in "Snapped."
When he was 18, Andy moved out and married a woman named Jennifer with whom he had a daughter, Tabitha. Sadly, the marriage didn’t last. Andy and his daughter then moved in with the Beattys.
“Martha was a great grandmother. Spoiled her, got her anything she wanted,” friend Regina Jordan told “Snapped.”
But then, around 6 a.m. on August 28, 2001, a coworker from the gas station called Gail. Bill was supposed to open up but never showed up.
“Bill was never late for work. Bill was always 10 to 15 minutes early,” said Gail.
Bill’s employees then called Martha who said he had already left for work. Around 7:35 a.m., Martha then called the Mascotte Police and told them Bill was missing. She said she had last seen him the night before at bedtime.
As Gail was on her way to open up the gas station, she spotted Bill's truck on the side of the road. It was unlocked and the keys were on the front seat — but there was no sign of Bill.
"Mascotte officers found a wedding ring in the glove compartment,” former Mascotte Police Officer Michael Warchol told “Snapped.”
Two weeks later, Martha called authorities, claiming she had spoken with her husband.
“Martha kind of reinforced the fact that they didn’t need to look for Bill anymore. He was very much alive and living up in Georgia and had no intention of coming back,” said Gross.
Bill’s children, however, never heard from their father. They also told investigators his marriage with Martha had its ups and downs.
According to those who knew them, Bill and Martha often fought over money. Bill thought Martha spent too much — and he also suspected she was stealing from the gas station.
“Things didn’t balance out. People started complaining their credit cards showed gas purchases when they hadn’t been to the station,” said Gail.
As a result, Bill stopped giving Martha shifts and put her on a strict allowance. Once she spent her allowance, he wouldn’t give her any more money.
Bill and Martha also fought over Andy. Bill thought he ran with a bad crowd and was neglecting his daughter. Martha, however, always defended her son.
Things got so bad, Andy eventually moved out of Bill and Martha’s home and in with his girlfriend, Jeanette Sanchez, leaving his daughter behind.
Months passed without any sign of Bill Beatty.
“Every now and again police would get anonymous phone calls stating that Bill Beatty was dead. The officers at the time would go out and look into whatever was alleged but there was nothing really to follow up on and again the case lay dormant,” said Warchol.
Eight months after Bill’s disappearance, Martha again sat down with investigators.
Martha told police this wasn’t the first time Bill ran off for an extended period of time. She said he called her from a Best Western in Georgia and told her was having an affair with another woman and leaving her.
“I said, ‘Where you at?’ and he said, ‘Never mind,’ and I said, ‘Well, what about me and your job and that?’ and he said, ‘I don’t need none of that crap no more,'” Martha told investigators in her taped interview, which was obtained by “Snapped.”
Three years would pass without any progress. Then, in February 2004, Mascotte Police received another anonymous tip claiming Bill Beatty was buried on his own property.
Martha had been unable to keep up payments on the house and it had gone into foreclosure. The new owners agreed to allow authorities to search the property and bring cadaver dogs.
Though the initial search found nothing, Andy’s girlfriend, Jeanette Sanchez, was seen driving by. Sanchez agreed to speak with police. Sanchez said she would tell them everything she knew about Bill’s disappearance in exchange for immunity.
She claimed Martha called Andy in the early morning hours of August 28, 2001, and asked him to come over because she was arguing with Bill about money.
“Later on that afternoon I asked Andy what had happened and he told me that his mom had accidentally shot Bill,” Sanchez told investigators in her taped statement to police, which was obtained by “Snapped.”
Andrew then helped her dispose of the body.
“Andrew told Jeanette that he had cut a hole in the floor of the garage and put Bill Beatty’s body wrapped in a tarp and then covered it with lime and then refilled the hole and put the hole back into place in the floor of the garage,” said Warchol.
Sanchez drew investigators a map of the property and indicated where Beatty was buried. Though the garage had been torn down, authorities began digging where it had once stood.
On March 4, 2004, Bill Beatty’s dead body was found buried under six feet of dirt and debris. An autopsy revealed he had been shot twice in the back of his head, according to Florida’s Orlando Sentinel newspaper.
The medical examiner believed Beatty was asleep in bed at the time he was murdered, contradicting any claims that his killing was accidental.
“It appeared that Mr. Beatty had been laying on his stomach and that he had been shot in close range and from behind,” said Warchol.
Sanchez was brought back in for questioning and ultimately admitted to helping Martha and Andy cover up Bill’s murder.
She said Martha gave her one of Bill's credit cards and told her to rent a hotel room in Georgia in order to make it appear that he was still alive.
“Martha told me when I got there to register in Bill’s name,” Sanchez told investigators in her second interview, which was obtained by “Snapped.”
The mother and son had decided to murder Bill after she withdrew $1,500 from a joint account without her husband’s knowledge and gave it to Andy. Though the money was supposed to pay for Andy’s legal bills from his custody battle, he had used the money to pay for a truck and buy drugs, according to police.
Martha knew Bill went to the bank every two weeks and would soon discover the money was missing. Fearful of what would happen when he found out, she told Andy he had to kill his stepfather.
On April 14, 2004, Andrew Paul Norman, 25, was charged with first-degree murder, according to the Orlando Sentinel. He was already in custody at the time on unrelated grand theft charges.
59-year-old Martha Beatty was arrested for murder days later at her home in West Virginia, reported the Orlando Sentinel.
Martha Beatty pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in May 2005, according to the Orlando Sentinel. She died in prison in 2020 after contracting COVID-19.
In April 2006, Andrew Norman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and received a 25-year prison sentence, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
He will be eligible for parole in July 2024.