MESCAL — A 72-year-old man who investigators said was fatally shot was afraid of the neighbor who is now accused of killing him, a Cochise County Sheriff’s report shows.
Otmar Schwestak told his son Michael Schwestak that he feared Jon Melvin Bentley because of Bentley’s “unstable mental status,” the report shows.
Bentley, 56, is charged with first degree murder in Schwestak’s death.
The younger Schwestak found his father slumped over in a chair on Aug. 21 inside the residence the two shared on North Mescal Road. Schwestak had a newspaper tucked under one arm and investigators said there were no signs of struggle in the house.
According to the report, the only items that seemed to have been disturbed were a section of the newspaper that was on the floor and Schwestak’s glasses under the table where the victim had been sitting.
When he was interviewed by Sheriff’s detectives, Michael Schwestak told them his father had no enemies. However, he suddenly paused and then told them about their neighbor Bentley, whe Michael Schwestak described as “(expletive) nuts,” the report says.
Late last month, Bentley’s attorney filed a motion requesting that the suspect be evaluated to determine if he’s currently incompetent, and whether he was incompetent the day of the shooting, said Cochise County Assistant Attorney Daniel Akers.
Attorney Christopher Cazares said he made the motion after observing Bentley himself. In the motion, Cazares said his client “has made statements of intense, fearful feelings of people who are not there and they are conspiring against him. Also, he doesn’t appropriately respond to questions and fails to recall prior conversations.”
Two days after the homicide, Bentley’s own son Jon Michael Bentley told Sheriff’s detectives that his father was “extremely paranoid” about the Schwestaks and that the elder Bentley had taken his .40 caliber Glock pistol, the report shows. The bullet casing found near Schwestak was a Winchester .40 caliber, the report says.
Jon Michael Bentley also said he had moved his father into a recreational vehicle on his property on North Mescal Road because his father also had threatened another neighbor in the Tucson area.
The younger Bentley told investigators that he suspected his father had shot Schwestak, the report shows.
When Jon Michael Bentley confronted his father about the missing Glock handgun, he said Bentley gave the weapon back, but then promptly disappeared from the RV, the report says. The younger Bentley told detectives that his father had likely gone to Vail to his parent’s house.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department Homicide and Fugitive Divisions arrested Bentley on Aug. 26 in the parking lot of the Walmart on Houghton Road in Tucson.
He is currently in custody at the Cochise County Jail awaiting a mental health evaluation to determine how his case will proceed.