QUINCY, Ill. – A 22-year-old man accused of shooting to death his parents and three teenage sisters waived extradition Monday and will return to Iowa to face murder charges.
Shawn Bentler appeared in an Adams County courtroom Monday for a brief hearing; Van Buren County, Iowa officials were expected to pick him up in the afternoon.
Bentler — wearing a black-and-white striped jail jumpsuit, his arms and legs shackled — appeared alert when he answered the judge's questions.
The victims were found early Saturday morning in their home near Bonaparte, Iowa, about 60 miles northwest of Quincy. They were identified as Michael Bentler, 53; his wife, Sandra, 47; and their daughters Sheena, 17; Shelby, 15; and Shayne, 14.
Shawn Bentler was arrested later that morning in Quincy, where he lived.
He was arrested on drug- and traffic-related charges near his home there at about 10:30 a.m. while riding his motorcycle, and initially was charged with driving on a revoked license and operating an uninsured vehicle.
There also was an outstanding warrant for Bentler's arrest for failing to appear at a hearing on charges of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia in Adams County.
He was charged in Iowa with five counts of first-degree murder.
Investigators have not offered a motive for the slayings, said Jim Saunders, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Public Safety. "It's going to take them a while," he said.
Adams County authorities had been alerted that Bentler was a possible suspect in the slayings, and were watching for him, State's Attorney Jon Barnard said.
Van Buren County authorities had obtained a search warrant for Bentler's home on Saturday but Barnard would not comment on what, if anything, was found. Bentler's roommates also were questioned, Barnard said.
It was unclear how long Bentler had lived in Quincy.
Nobody was home Monday at the small, white one-story house that Bentler shared with roommates. A half-dozen trash bags sat in the back yard, and a black Chevrolet Lumina with Van Buren County, Iowa license plates was parked near the garage behind the house.
Across the street, Tony Ballard recalled how a police sniper sat in his driveway most of Saturday, watching Bentler's house.
"That was a little alarming," said Ballard, who moved to the neighborhood in April.
Ballard did not know if he'd ever seen Bentler, but said there were "two or three regulars" who occasionally sat talking on a couch on the front porch.
"I see young people over there all the time. I haven't had any trouble out of them," Ballard said. "They're pretty quiet."
At Neal Coleman Auto Sales in Quincy, where Bentler worked in sales for three weeks in September, sales manager Jack Bessling said he was shocked by the news of the slayings, but said he didn't know Bentler well.
Bessling said Bentler quit near the end of September, saying his father had died of a heart attack and he was going back to Iowa to be with his mother. Bessling discovered the lie after calling Bentler's father's lumber company to express condolences.
"Nobody really go a chance to know him," Bessling said. "He was a nice kid — quiet, polite, dressed well.
"He said all the right things when we talked to him. He said he had two kids and had to make money."
Authorities in Iowa were alerted to trouble at the Bentler house at 3:38 a.m. Saturday when Shayne Bentler called 911 and said her brother was "going to do something." Next came the sound of a gunshot and someone yelling, "Shawn, no!"
Then the line went dead.
Authorities said they received a second 911 call at the same time from Sandra Bentler's cell phone, but it didn't reach a dispatcher. When a dispatcher tried to return the call, it went unanswered.
The Bentlers owned an elevator and lumber company that served most of southeast Iowa. Their home sits on 20 acres on a sprawling tree-lined bluff just outside Bonaparte.