Criminal complaint says man was strangled

Adam Wells died from asphyxiation coupled with a beating, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday against three men accused in his death.

"He was tied up with rope pulled tightly around his neck, hands and feet," reads the complaint against Danny Shaw, 20, Tyler Cruz, 24, and Juan Cervantes Jr., 20. "His death was caused by asphyxia by ligature and/or blunt-force trauma to the head."

Shaw, Cruz and Cervantes have been 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. They are being held without bail.

On Oct. 5, the three men allegedly invited Wells, 20, "on the pretext of friendship," to a home at 1400 Stanford Drive "to make him return or pay for property they believed he had taken from Danny Shaw in the past and to punish him for taking such property," District Attorney Noel Waters wrote in the complaint.

The complaint alleges that when Wells was inside the home and seated, Shaw came out from a room and struck him several times in the head with a bat. When Wells tried to defend himself, Cruz and Cervantes "further assisted by grabbing Adam Wells and holding him back as he resisted the attack."

Following the assault, investigators say, Wells' body was wrapped with rope in a blanket and left five miles off Sedge Road in Brunswick Canyon.

Fred Carl Bechtold, 21, is charged with accessory to murder, accessory to kidnapping, and destroying or concealing evidence for allegedly advising Shaw, Cruz and Cervantes "to burn their clothing and get rid of their shoes and further helped them to try to clean the residential premises to remove blood stains or other evidence."

A preliminary hearing for the four men is set for Nov. 4.

n Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.


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