Retired teacher apparently beaten to death; nephew faces murder charge

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

MESA, Ariz. -- A retired teacher was apparently beaten to death with a wooden tree stake, according to court documents.

William Null, 41, is accused of killing his 61-year-old aunt, Cynthia Pesek, at her home near McKellips and Recker roads in Mesa. Null was booked on one count of second-degree murder.

Court documents indicate Null's mother called police from Wyoming and said her son had called and told her he had a problem with his aunt and that it was a "bloody mess."

Mesa police officers found Pesek lying in a pool of blood on her kitchen floor at about 1 a.m. Tuesday.

Investigators from the medical examiner's office determined Pesek had numerous skull fractures and it appeared she had been severely beaten.

The court records show that homicide detectives found a bloody 48-inch-long wooden tree stake covered with loose dirt in the backyard.

Officers saw Null exit the vacant home next door at about 6:30 a.m. They took him into custody as he attempted to ride his bike from the area. Null apparently hid in the home's attic while police conducted an investigation. Police found bloody clothing in the attic.

Null told police that he had been angry at Pesek because she had embarrassed him in front of their neighbors. According to the court documents, Null was unable to pay for cigarettes some neighbors bought for him so Pesek paid for them. He said the two argued about it for three days.

Pesek retired from the Mesa Public Schools several years ago.