Fiancee of CEO slain outside River North bar: ‘This could have been prevented’
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Weeks after Mike Beedle was stabbed to death outside a River North bar, the slain software entrepreneur’s fiancee on Thursday made an impassioned call for changes to a criminal justice system that let his accused murderer roam the streets of Chicago despite a history of arrests and mental health issues spanning more than three decades.
“Our babies lost their father, and I think someone has blood on their hands,” Barbara Misiur said during a press conference with their toddler Urszula on her lap.
“To know that this could have been prevented makes me so angry,” she said.
Gino Bassett, 56, is charged with first-degree murder. Cook County prosecutors say he suffers from schizophrenia and takes numerous medications for mental illness.
Bassett stalked Beedle as he stood outside the bar early on March 23 in the 400 block of North State, then shoved him into an alley, stabbed him in the neck with a 5-inch knife and took off with Beedle’s cash and credit cards, authorities said.
Bassett’s arrest after the slaying was his 99th on a lengthy rap sheet, according to community activist Andrew Holmes.
“There was someone who was signing his papers 98 times to release this person, who should have monitored this person, given him treatment, who should have decided to put this person in a hospital,” Misiur said. “Nothing was done.”
Bassett, who is homeless, has faced at least 46 criminal cases in Cook County dating back to 1984, according to court records. He was sentenced to three years in prison for burglary in 2003, nine years for armed robbery in 2006 and 3 years for resisting an officer in 2013. He is now jailed without bond.
“Two lives are at stake: Michael’s life, and the person that is incarcerated because the system has failed,” Holmes said, calling for deeper checks on the mental health histories of arrestees. “Somewhere along the line, either the judge, the state’s attorney’s office, or someone in the Cook County Jail knew that this individual had a behavioral problem.
“We have a lot of mental health institutions that have been closed down … that need to be opened back up, because this could have been prevented,” Holmes said.
A spokesperson for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office declined to comment on Bassett’s pending case.
Misiur and Beedle, 55, lived in northwest suburban Park Ridge and had planned to travel to her native Poland on April 25 for a traditional Polish wedding, she said. He leaves behind his three young children, as well as three more children in their teens from a previous marriage.
“Mike had an amazing life. He was so passionate,” Misiur said. “He was contributing so much to the world.”
Beedle was the founder and CEO of Enterprise Scrum Inc. and the co-author of the Agile Manifesto, a highly regarded book on software development that he taught around the world.
Misiur called on elected officials to improve access to mental health care.
“Because this can happen again — it will happen again if you change nothing,” she said. “I ask myself how many Gino Bassetts are out there on the streets. … I don’t want any family to go through what we’re going through.”