Man admits that he destroyed evidence in Wells murder case
CARSON CITY – A capital city man pleaded guilty Monday to helping his friends dispose of evidence in the murder of Adam Wells.
Fred Bechtold, 21, entered a guilty plea to one count of accessory to a felony, with Wells’ mother, father and sister looking on from the gallery. In exchange for the plea, the Carson City District Attorney’s Office has agreed to dismiss a gross-misdemeanor charge of destroying or concealing evidence.
Bechtold said he was taking the plea “to avoid prison.”
“Who was a friend of yours in this thing?” asked District Judge Michael Griffin.
“I knew everybody involved,” Bechtold said.
When asked why he took part in the crime cleanup, Bechtold said he was afraid.
“I don’t know what I was doing.”
He faces 24 to 60 months in prison or five years’ probation when sentenced July 10.
According to court records, Bechtold directed Tyler Cruz and Danny Shaw to burn their clothing and discard their shoes after the two men allegedly bound, gagged, and beat Wells in Shaw’s Stanford Drive home on Oct. 5. Wells’ body was found the following day in the hills off Sedge Road in east Carson City.
Shaw, Bechtold and Wells all apparently knew one another since sixth grade. A fourth defendant, Juan Cervantes, 21, allegedly took part in luring Wells to the home, but claims to have left before Wells was killed. He is set to be tried June 27 on charges of principal to open murder with the use of a deadly weapon, principal to battery with the use of a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, accessory to a felony, conspiracy to commit a crime and destroying evidence.
Cruz, 25, pleaded guilty May 2 to second-degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit kidnapping. In exchange for the plea, charges of principal to open murder, principal to kidnapping with the use of a deadly weapon, principal to battery with the use of a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit a crime were dismissed.
Cruz faces 20 years to life when he is sentenced June 2.
Shaw, 21, is set to be tried June 6 on charges of first-degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon and other charges.
murder, principal to kidnapping with the use of a deadly weapon, principal to battery with the use of a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Adam Wells’ mother, Donna, attended Monday’s hearing with her husband, Jerry, and daughter Jennifer.
She was not happy with the Bechtold’s plea agreement.
“I think this just shows the community you can be a part of something as horrendous as this and get off with 200 hours of community service and five years’ probation,” she said.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A newly formed Washoe Tahoe Housing Partnership will be coordinating a needs assessment and strategic plan this summer for local resident housing in the Incline Village and Crystal Bay areas of…