Gig Harbor murder-suicide case takes strange turn
Investigators have uncovered evidence that the apparent gunman was a scam artist with outstanding arrest warrants for kidnapping, sexual assault and attempted murder.
The Associated Press
GIG HARBOR — What appeared to be a fairly straightforward murder-suicide case has taken a strange turn, with investigators uncovering evidence that the apparent gunman was a scam artist with outstanding arrest warrants for kidnapping, sexual assault and attempted murder.
Detectives believe the 62-year-old man fatally shot himself at a home here after killing a woman during a domestic dispute Thursday and seriously wounding a neighbor trying to break up the fight.
The woman, 66-year-old Turid Bentley, was initially described by authorities as the dead man's wife. Authorities identified him as John Williams.
But investigators combing the house found evidence indicating the two weren't married, and the man is somebody else.
"He's not John Williams," Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said.
In a locked container in the home's attic, detectives found multiple identification cards with the man's picture, with a host of different names. The IDs came from the Virgin Islands and the West Indies, among other places, Troyer said.
Other evidence recovered from the scene pointed to financial scams engineered by the man, Troyer said, without providing specifics.
"We believe this guy, probably until the death, was pretty good at being a scam artist," Troyer told The News Tribune of Tacoma. "He's not who he portrayed himself to be here. He's not married to this lady [Bentley]."
Some of the IDs were traced to Oregon, Troyer said. Further checks revealed arrest warrants for kidnapping, sexual assault, attempted murder and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Troyer said the warrants appeared to be five or six years old. He would not disclose the name or names on the warrants.
"We believe we know who he really is," Troyer said. "We're waiting to confirm photos and information."
Detectives also found photos at the home showing Bentley and "Williams" at a formal gathering.
"They had a ceremony, and for visual purposes and what everybody saw, they were married. But there were no marriage licenses," Troyer said.
It was unclear whether Bentley was aware of the activities of "Williams," Troyer said.
"Basically, this guy was pretending to be somebody who he wasn't, taking advantage of people," Troyer said. "There's probably going to be other victims."