Murder-by-Snake: Too Weird for Words

by Lou on August 20, 2007

Charged with conspiracy to commit murder are Herbert Paul Beck, 56, and Christopher Lee Steelman, 34, after the two Colorado men allegedly tried to collect a debt by using rattlesnakes as weapons.

Matthew Sowash, owner of Amateur Poker Tour, was their intended victim. According to Jim Shires of the Jefferson County sheriff’s office, Sowash owed Beck and Steelman $60,000. Sowash, whose company runs poker games in Denver area bars, was to have his legs placed into a specially constructed wooden box that held the snakes. The box was built so his legs could be inserted but not removed.

After receiving threatening e-mails, Sowash contacted authorities, which led to the arrest of Beck and Steelman. The pair was also charged with kidnapping and extortion as well as attempted murder, since part of the plot involved snatching Sowash’s children and using them as leverage to collect the $60,000 they claim Sowash owed.

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