Investigation Discovery’s ‘American Monster: Friends Outside of Work’ describe how a well-to-do Kentucky electrician was fatally shot inside his Louisville residence in December 2017. However, the police caught the perpetrator almost immediately with the help of a tip from a family friend and other pieces of evidence. If you’re interested in finding out what happened, including the perpetrator’s name and current whereabouts, we’ve you covered. Let’s begin then, shall we?
How Did Gary Bentley Die?
Gary Wayne Bentley was born to Gerald and Lisa Bentley in Louisville in Jefferson County, Kentucky, on August 31, 1984. He became an electrician with the IEBW 369, was an avid hunter and fisher, and loved his UK Wildcats. When he was 23, Gary met Tasha in 2006, who was a year older than him. After six years of dating, the pair tied the knot in September 2012. Gary’s sister, Amy Bentley, described her brother as “a little more laidback” than his “assertive” wife.
Gary’s mother, Lisa Bentley, recalled, “My son was an outdoors person. He loved going hunting and liked to collect guns and fishing equipment.” Their son, “Connor” (identity concealed since he is a minor), was born around three months later. Lisa reminisced, “They were both intuitive and dedicated parents, but Tasha sometimes let Gary take the lead. While she sat back and hung with the girls, Gary used to chase the kid around the house.” Gary’s father, Gerald Bentley, remembered how much Gary cherished his son and built his life centering upon the little one’s future.
Gary was a proud family man and had a comfortable life with a big house and car. Hence, it came as a shock when Tasha called her father-in-law Gerald and expressed concerns about her husband not answering his phone on December 10, 2017. She also told Gerald she had arrived home from work to find the garage door open, and she was afraid to walk into the house. Gerald arrived at the couple’s residence and went inside, where the couple’s dogs came to greet him.
Gerald called for his son, but all his calls were unanswered. After walking through the home, he found Gary lying in bed. He was deceased with a gunshot wound to the back of his head. Horrified, he called 911, and the police arrived to find a single shell casing in the bed alongside the body. Police sources stated Gary was facing away from the door and had likely been shot while sleeping. They also found no evidence of a break-in or forced entry, and all of Gary’s guns were reported missing from the safe.
Who Killed Gary Bentley?
From the very beginning of the homicide investigation, the police were sure the murder had been carried out by someone who was accustomed to the household. Neighbors reported no commotion, and the investigators hypothesized the dogs must have known the assailant. Otherwise, the barking would have surely woken Gary up before he could be shot. Suspicious, the detectives began to look into Gary’s wife, Tasha Bentley, since most of the time, spouses are under the scanner when their partners get killed.
The investigators soon discovered the Bentleys’ marriage was not without its rough patches. Tasha, a nurse, liked to look nice and was more assertive than her husband. However, she had been experiencing performance issues at her job, which led to stress and fighting at home. It came to a head when she was ultimately fired after the couple returned from a vacation to Jamaica with family friends in September 2016. That stress was briefly relieved when Tasha got a new job.
But it did not take long before family and friends began noticing something seemed off as Tasha was spending weekends away and often stayed out late. Gerald tried to talk to his son about the odd vibe. However, Gary repeatedly brushed off his father’s concerns and assured him things between the couple were fine. But the issues seemingly came to a head at Thanksgiving 2017 when Tasha seemed too desperate to get away from the holiday meal at her in-laws’ home.
According to family sources, she swore she was going shopping when she left after dinner. But when Tasha returned in the wee hours of Black Friday, she allegedly had no purchases. The week after Thanksgiving, Tasha told her mother-in-law she was concerned that someone would harm Gary. However, Gary laughed it off. After the murder investigation started, the police received a call the following day from Tasha’s best friend, Amy Day. She was the wife of Gary’s best friend, Kevin, and the two couples had gone on the Jamaica trip last year.
Amy’s call gave the police their best lead — Tasha had been planning to leave Gary. She had met another man, Anthony, at work and was preparing to move out in mid-January 2018. The investigators also learned Tasha had taken out a $1 million life insurance policy on Gary that became effective only four days before the murder. The detectives contacted the insurance company to learn Tasha had authorized the policy with the help of Gary’s electronic signature. With enough evidence to link her to the crime, the police brought Tasha in for an interview.
Where is Tasha Bentley Now?
During her December 11 interview, Tasha initially denied having any learning of her husband’s murder. But the police egged her on until she admitted to her extramarital affair with her co-worker, Anthony. When the investigators informed her she might lose her son’s custody, Tasha finally broke down and admitted to killing Gary. However, she claimed she had shot Gary because he had been physically abusive towards their son. According to court records, the officers found no evidence that Gary had ever abused Connor.
The police found Gary’s stolen weapons inside Anthony’s sister’s home. However, Anthony and her sibling were cleared off as suspects after they provided concrete alibis and evidence that they did not know about the heinous crime. Tasha pleaded guilty to murdering her husband in July 2021 and was sentenced to 55 years. According to official court records, the 40-year-old is serving her sentence at the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women. Her inmate records state her earliest possible parole date is 2037, while her sentence will expire in 2072.
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