MARTINEZ (CBS SF) — Benicia resident Robert Gardner was sentenced to 29 years to life in prison Thursday morning for his role in the torture and murder of a Martinez teenager days before Christmas in 2009.
A jury in March found Gardner guilty of first-degree murder, torture, residential burglary and larceny for aiding and abetting the Dec. 20, 2009 torture and killing of 18-year-old Eric Bean.
Attorneys said Gardner encouraged his two co-defendants, Vallejo resident Timothy Delosreyes, Jr., 38, and his son, 20-year-old Timothy Delosreyes III, of Crockett, as they tied Bean up and tortured him for hours, beating him to death, then helped them cover up the evidence and dumped the teen’s body in unincorporated Contra Costa County.
A passerby found the teen’s bound and bloodied body on Dec. 21 on the side of McEwen Road, about a mile north of state Highway 4, according to police.
Days before his death, the three defendants had teamed with Bean to steal his father’s guns, according to attorneys.
When the teen suggested that he wanted to confess to his father about stealing the guns, the defendants, high on methamphetamines, decided to kidnap him, according to Deputy District Attorney Jason Peck.
Both of Gardner’s co-defendants have also been charged with first-degree murder, torture, theft and larceny and are awaiting trial.
Judge Lewis A. Davis handed down the sentence Thursday after hearing arguments from Joyce Sasse, Gardner’s attorney.
She told the court Thursday morning that Gardner did not initially realize the Delosreyes meant to kill Bean on Dec. 20, 2009 and did not carry out his murder.
The judge countered that while Gardner did not physically harm Bean, he told his co-defendants, “Once you tie him up, you can’t let him go”, bolstering their resolve to torture and kill the teen. He also stood by as they brutally beat him, kicked his teeth in and shoved a sword in his mouth, according to Peck.
After the pair hog-tied Bean, stuffed a sock in his mouth and beat him repeatedly, Gardner drove to a nearby Safeway to buy sandwiches for himself and his co-conspirators, never stopping to call police, then stood by for hours more until he died, the judge said Thursday.
Before Bean’s family members spoke in court Thursday morning, Gardner told the court he was sorry for his role in the teen’s death.
“I did not want Eric being dead,” he said tearfully. “That wasn’t my intention—I barely knew the kid.”
But Jimmy Bean, the victim’s father, said he did not believe the defendant’s display of remorse Thursday morning.
“If he wanted to stop it, all he had to do was call 911,” the victim’s father told the judge.
“I miss my son greatly,” he said, his voice breaking with emotion. “To keep my son there for hours and torture him and dump him on the side of the road like a piece of trash, before Christmas, is unimaginable.”
Virginia Gardner, the defendant’s mother, said she believes her son is sorry for the teen’s death and described the toll his crime has taken on his family, including Gardner’s young daughter.
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