NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A man has been indicted on a second-degree murder charge in the death of a woman whose dismembered body was found in a freezer stored on an old bus parked beside a New Orleans home, District Attorney Jason Williams said Friday.
Benjamin Beale, 34, was charged Thursday by a grand jury in the death of Julia Dardar.
Beale faces several additional charges, including obstruction of a homicide investigation and drug charges, “creation or operation of a clandestine drug laboratory” and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute it.
Dardar’s body was discovered by police in the freezer stowed on the graffiti-covered bus in January. She had been reported missing in December. Authorities said she had been beaten and strangled.
New Orleans news outlets reported earlier this year that Dardar had been reported missing by her ex-husband, and is believed to have moved in with Beale at the address where the body was found.
Court records showed no plea from Beale as of Friday afternoon. In a February court hearing, his attorneys said there was insufficient evidence to hold him, according to an account in The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. They said he had a history of drug addiction and mental health issues.
A call placed Friday to a Beale attorney was not immediately returned.