Santa Maria hatchet murderer facing release

November 14, 2014

Nicholas BendleThe doctors of a former altar boy who killed a senior citizen in a random hatchet attack in Santa Maria five years ago have recommended that their patient be released, a decision that is now under the purview of the courts.

In 2009, then 20-year-old Nicholas Bendle attacked and partially decapitated a 69-year-old man who was taking a morning walk.

Before the killing, Bendle was active in his church, had a girlfriend and was attending community college while holding down a job. Then, the death of a close friend shortly before the killing is suspected of triggering the onset of schizophrenia, which often occurs in a person’s 20s.

During his trial, Bendle plead guilty and blamed undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenia for the attack. Attorneys on both sides agreed Bendle was insane at the time of the killing.

Since 2011, Bendle has been intense psychiatric treatment Patton State Mental Hospital in San Bernardino County. A treatment multiple doctors say Bendle has had a “complete recovery.”

On Thursday, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge John McGregor postponed ruling on the release of Bendle, saying he needs time to review various medical reports.


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19 Comments

  1. family of Fred Holgate says:

    What nobody is printing here is that Mr. Bendle has been in a hospital this whole time. Not a single day in jail. He is somehow cured wand not on any medication. Go rob a bank and you will spend time in jail. Kill a person and claim un-diagnosed illness and get away with murder! Where is the justice for Fred and his family!!! CAreful people don’t upset the man he may go find a bigger axe this time.

    (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  2. obispan says:

    Clockwork Orange anyone?

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  3. shelworth says:

    If they let him out does he get his hatchet back?

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  4. Lilylu says:

    Schizophrenia is an extremely sad and devastating illness. One if the key issues is releasing this young man back into the community is assessing how much support he will have from family and. He will most likely be released through CONREP (Conditional Release Program). He will live at first in a group home situation with curfews, ongoing treatment sessions, monitoring for alcohol consumption and job training or be allowed to work. He would also receive on going medication monitoring and administration by licensed personnel. True there is no cure for schizophrenia, but there is hope for on going recovery, and the possibility of leading a productive quality life in the community.

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  5. flytrap says:

    That is great that he responded well to his medications. The problem is that once people in this situation are released into the public, they often lack supervision, go off of their medications, and return to their former schizophrenic state. This is the situation that we see every day with the many homeless wondering the streets of San Luis Obispo, especially downtown, mumbling and yelling to themselves, causing an occasional assault, etc. But these mentally ill folks “have their rights” and cannot be forced to continue their medications and put up with all the side effects once they are released.

    Thus, the soiution in SLO has been to build more homeless shelters which is treating the symptom, not the disease.

    (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
    • obispan says:

      Look, if you’re in the burger business you thrive off of people eating burgers and want them to do so and even eat more, though maybe they should be having a salad at home for reasons of health and economy. You’re in the mental illness business, well, same thing…business is business.

      (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
  6. suzyque says:

    According to all the patients I’ve known or heard of, and articles and books I’ve read on this condition, there is “no such thing as full recovery.” He needs to be in a psychiatric treatment program where he has support for his everyday life. There’s no doubt about it.

    (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
  7. Citizen says:

    We’re talking about Santa Maria, the sanctuary city that for 20 years has welcomed people coming here illegally from Mexico and Central America regardless of a criminal record, disease, ability to read or write, mental illness, etc. As soon as their escaped quarantined drug resistant TB patient returns, they will welcome him back and gladly spend the $500,000 of your taxpayer money to house and treat him ($430,000 for drug treatment alone).

    Pedophiles, murderers, gang leaders, drug addicts/smugglers, people with infectious diseases are all welcome here. Why would they care if one hatchet murderer returns home?

    (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down

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