Cold case solved: Police arrest suspect in 13-year-old murder of cabbie

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 17 at 10:06 AM

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- More than 13 years after a cabbie was shot and killed on a late spring night in Glendale, police believe they have the man responsible.

Police arrested Michael Wayne Bentley, 32, of Peoria, at his workplace last Thursday and booked him on suspicion of first-degree murder.

Investigators identified Bentley as their suspect last month after he was arrested for an unrelated offense in his hometown. As part of the booking procedure, officers took Bentley fingerprints. When they were put in the database, those popped on a carjacking case from June 2000 -- a case that was tied to a murder.

The night of June 2, 2000, Glendale police responded to a call regarding a wreck involving a taxi.

Officers arrived on the scene to find Malcolm Gomes, 50, outside his cab. He had been shot and later died of his injuries.

A witness saw a young man running from the scene. The description matched that of the suspect in an armed carjacking not far from where Gomes was found.

"During the subsequent investigation Glendale Police Detectives would determine the crimes were related and committed by the same suspect," according to Glendale police Sgt. Jay O'Neill.

It would be nearly a month before that stolen vehicle was recovered. While crime-scene techs were able to pull fingerprints from the vehicle, detectives were unable to identify a suspect until Bentley was arrested more than 13 years later.

A cold-case detective worked with the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office "to develop probable cause for the arrest of Bentley as the suspect in the 2000 homicide," O'Neill said in a news release.

The Glendale Police Department has not released any other information about how they connected Bentley, who would have been 18 in June 2000, to the murder of Gomes.

In addition to the first-degree murder count, Bentley also faces a charge of armed robbery.

Gomes left behind a wife and three kids.

"They say what goes around comes around," Gomes' widow, Patricia, told 3TV's Carey Peña two months after the murder.

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