MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two men are accused of murder in the death of a 90-year-old farmer in his Carver County home last month, according to charges filed Wednesday.
Reinol Vergara, 35, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and Edson Benitez, 29, was charged with two counts of aiding and abetting second-degree murder in the death of Earl Olander at his Carver County home on April 9 or April 10.
The Carver County Sheriff’s Office was called on April 11 to a possible death at 16885 Homestead Road in San Francisco Township. When officers arrived, they found Olander dead lying face down on his living room floor.
According to the criminal complaint, Vergara and Benitez bound Orlander’s hands, beat him and then stole from his house. Olander’s entire house was ransacked with drawers pulled out and thrown around, cabinets and closets opened and emptied and various documents and papers strewn about the residence.
Deputies got a tip Saturday from a citizen cleaning out a vacated St. Paul apartment. That citizen found a bible with two $1,000 savings bonds in it made out to Olander. That citizen called police after learning Olander was the victim of a homicide, according to the complaint.
The complaint states an investigation showed that Edson Benitez used to live in the apartment. Police arrested him that day at his work. Police arrested Vergara the next day.
According to the complaint, Vergara told police that he had recently painted Olander’s house and knew he’d be an easy target because he lived alone and had money. They drove to his house on April 9 or 10 to rob him. The two men brought with them a black bag that contained a shotgun, duct tape and rope.
The complaint states they entered Olander’s residence through an unlocked back door. Olander was sleeping on the couch when the two men put a blanket over his head and attacked him. Olander fought back, but was hit it the back of the head with a shotgun. He was also hit on his face, head and body and his hands were bound with duct tape while the two men ransacked the home.
According to the complaint, the items stolen from the residence included coins, old silverware, two dollar bills and a large bible written in European language. The two men then fled the scene and drove back to the Twin Cities.
In the weeks since Earl Olander died, neighbors have placed this memorial outside of his San Francisco Township home. Neighbors say he was a kind and gentle spirit.
“Very nice man, everyone’s friend. I don’t think he had an enemy in the world. It’s just so sad,” neighbor Lois Scott said.
Both suspects are in the Carver Couny Jail. If convicted, they each face up to 80 years in prison.