Ex-lover of arson suspect: 'I knew she'd be the type to frame me'
MOORHEAD - Tara Andvik's ex-lover said today that when he heard about the first of six fires at her rural Barnesville farm last October after their breakup, he became concerned "because I knew she'd be the type to try to frame me."
Keith Beam, a TV producer and hunter who worked for "The Wild Outdoors" show on the Outdoor Channel, testified for about 90 minutes on the third day of Andvik's arson trial in Clay County District Court.
Beam said Andvik first emailed him in November 2010 asking questions about editing video, and their relationship quickly heated up. He referred Andvik and her husband, Matt, to be pro staffers on the hunting show.
Beam said he and Tara Andvik were in love and agreed to divorce their spouses to be together. He bought her a ring and proposed to her last June, but he ended the relationship in late July after he found out she had lied about filing for divorce against her husband.
Beam said that after Andvik took out a restraining order against him on Aug. 4 - an order that claimed he pressured her to "move the relationship from professional to intimate" - his home and cell phones "were a blur with her calling me." He obtained a restraining order against her on Aug. 19, and over the next five days, she called him 64 times, he said.
Beam said the Outdoor Channel wouldn't allow him to work as long as there was a restraining order against him, and he and Andvik agreed to drop the orders on Oct. 28.
Assistant County Attorney Heidi Davies asked Beam if he was responsible for the fires at the Andviks' farm, two of which destroyed their house and barn.
"Not in any way," he said.
Beam also testified he didn't pay anyone $50,000 to set the fires - a claim made in three anonymous, handwritten letters mailed to Andvik, her attorney and a Forum reporter last month. The letters were postmarked Auburn, Wyo., and Davies told the jury on Tuesday that investigators have since determined Andvik has an ex-boyfriend living in Auburn.
"You wish you never met her?" Davies asked Beam.
"Yes," he said.
Prosecutors have alleged that Andvik lit a series of fires on the farmstead she and her husband shared in hopes of framing Beam.
Andvik's defense attorney has suggested it was Beam who sought revenge for how the relationship ended.
Testimony in the trial is done for the day and will continue on Monday. Judge Michael Kirk has said the trial is expected to last until at least Tuesday, and possibly into Wednesday.