A hearing to determine if four men will be tried for the murder of Adam Wells will continue Dec. 23.
Friday, in a video-taped statement to investigators, defendant Tyler Cruz initially denied any involvement in Wells' killing on Oct. 5. but after asking if he could make a deal, admitted he was present.
Cruz, who was interviewed at the Douglas County Jail on Oct. 7, said he was at co-defendant Danny Shaw's house as Shaw's backup when Shaw attacked Wells.
"I was playing video games and (Wells) sat down" he said. "Next thing I know, I hear someone go 'Man, you (messed) up. Dude you took my (stuff) and you're going to get beat up.' And before anything, Danny hit (Adam) in the head with a bat."
At one point when Wells was getting the better of Shaw in the fight, Cruz said he intervened and pulled Wells off.
Cruz also said he helped Shaw tie Wells up, but only because Shaw made him.
An autopsy of Wells' body, found in the east Carson City desert on Oct. 6, revealed he died from strangulation. More than 84 feet of rope was wrapped around his ankles, wrists and at least four times around his neck.
"I didn't want to do anything, dude, and he made me stretch Bungee cords around (Adam)," he said.
"Danny said, 'I am going to take him out of here, dude, and I want you to follow me.' And I said, 'No man I'm not going to follow you dude' and he was like 'You need to (expletive) help me man, or else," Cruz said. "I figure or else means he was going to kick the (expletive) out of me or something is going to happen to me."
Cruz' statement was in direct conflict with Shaw's confession, a portion of which was played Friday morning.
In a videotaped statement shown earlier, Shaw said Cruz was a willing participant.
Friday's videotape showed Shaw describing Wells pleading for his life as he held him at gunpoint to tie him up.
"I told him, 'Move dude and I'll (expletive) kill you,' and he's like, 'Please don't kill me.'
"He just - he submitted, he just submitted. He was screaming, 'Oh (expletive)!'
"But when I put my gun to his face and I told him I was gonna kill him, there was not a thought in my mind I was gonna pull the trigger."
According to court documents, Cruz and Shaw dragged Wells into the garage, wrapped him in a blanket and allegedly beat him with a bat or wrench every time he moved. According to the criminal complaint, the two men then dumped Wells' lifeless body, hidden under a truck bed cover, in brush off of Brunswick Canyon Road.
Shaw, 21, Cruz, 24, and Juan Cervantes Jr., 20, are charged with principal to open murder with the use of a deadly weapon, principal to kidnapping in the first degree with 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. Shaw was additionally charged with unlawful use of marijuana. Shaw and Cruz are being held without bail.
District Attorney Noel Waters also presented an audio-taped statement from Juan Cervantes, who from all accounts, was allegedly at Shaw's home at the start of the fight, but left when Wells was still conscious.
Cervantes' attorney Jason Woodbury asked for and received bail for Cervantes.
"Mr. Cervantes has been a resident here well over 10 years. I just don't believe there's any risk of flight. And as you can see, his involvement is much, much, much less than the others," Woodbury said, to which Waters agreed.
"His involvement appears to be less. I suppose that bears some consideration," he said. "Because of that, I could go for $50,000 bail and house arrest. But, if he spits on the sidewalk, I'm going to ask that he go back to jail."
Fred Bechtold, charged with destroying evidence, was released to house arrest Nov. 10, but was rearrested Dec. 1, for allegedly coming up positive for marijuana on a drug test. This was the second time Bechtold was released and rearrested. His attorney Ben Walker argued the testing used was unreliable and the positive result came from prior use, but Justice of the Peace Robey Willis tabled the discussion until the hearing reconvenes in two weeks.
• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.