Defendant in Wells murder to go before parole board
September 20, 2007
The father of a Carson City man beaten to death by friends in 2005 said he was shocked to learn that one of the men connected to his son’s killing will be eligible for parole in January thanks to a change in Nevada law.
“I can’t in my wildest imagination believe that the Legislature intended for someone who committed a crime such as that of (Fred) Bechtold, that they would be eligible to get out in less time than the minimum sentence,” said Jerry Wells, father of murder victim Adam Wells.
As a means of reducing prison overcrowding, the 2007 Legislature approved a bill that doubles the amount of good-time credits a nonviolent offender can earn- up to 20 days per month. It also doubles the credits earned for such things as completing a drug rehabilitation program or earning a general education diploma.
For those convicted of felony violence, sex offenses, drugged or drunken driving or any category A or B felony – the most serious crimes – the credits don’t reduce minimum sentences. But they do apply the credits to maximum sentences for those inmates.
Fred Bechtold, sentenced in August 2006 to two to five years in prison for helping Adam Wells’ killers dispose of the evidence of their crime, will be eligible to go before the parole board because the crime for which he was convicted is a category C felony.
According to court records, Bechtold directed Tyler Cruz and Danny Shaw to burn their clothing and discard their shoes and helped to clean the home after the two men allegedly bound, gagged, and beat Adam Wells in Shaw’s and Bechtold’s Stanford Drive home on Oct. 5, 2005.
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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 claimed to have left before Wells was killed.
Bechtold was originally charged with accessory to murder, accessory to kidnapping, and destroying or concealing evidence.
When Bechtold pleaded to the lesser charge of accessory to a felony in May 2006, the Wells family was displeased.
“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,” the victim’s mother Donna Wells said then.
Learning of Bechtold’s quick appearance before the parole board angered them even more.
“We certainly plan to testify before the parole board when it comes up to let them know how ridiculous this new law is,” said Jerry Wells. “I think the public should know the unintended implications.”
The new law takes effect Oct. 1. Bechtold goes before the board on Oct. 15.
• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.
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