Elderly Palm Springs man escapes assisted suicide charges

Riverside County D.A. refuses to file charges

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The Riverside County District Attorney's Office refused to press criminal charges on Thursday against an 87-year-old Palm Springs man, who was accused of helping his ill wife take her own life.

Palm Springs police Sgt. Mike Kovaleff said William Bentinck was arrested at a home on La Condesa Drive late Monday, where the Riverside County Coroner's Office reported a possible unattended death earlier in the day.

Police spoke with Bentinck and two hospice nurses and found a 77-year-old woman dead in the home. Bentinck was arrested "based on the totality of
the circumstances, including but not limited to statements and evidence," Kovaleff said.

On Thursday, district attorney spokesman John Hall released a statement saying, "We are not filing charges in this case, based on a lack of sufficient evidence."

The 87-year-old had been booked on suspicion of murder at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, where he was being held in lieu of $1 million
bail. He was still in custody as of 5 p.m. on Thursday.

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