A man shot by police during a standoff last year is headed to state prison. Edward Lee Bentler, 37, of Hallstead, was sentenced in November on numerous counts, including ones associated in the confrontation with police as he refused to lay down his weapon during an incident in Great Bend Twp. in July 2020.
Earlier this year, a jury acquitted Bentler of the most serious charges he faced stemming from the July 20, 2020, incident – including three counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. Those counts were dismissed by the judge. The jury, however, found him guilty all the counts they deliberated, including aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats and the prohibited possession of a firearm.
According to court documents related to the July 20, 2020 incident, Bentler refused multiple commands from troopers to drop his weapon. As the incident unfolded, a trooper fired three rounds from his patrol rifle, striking Bentler who then dropped to the ground and lost control of the rifle while falling.
Bentler was sentenced to serve 24-96 months in a state correctional facility on the firearms possession count; followed by 9 months-2 years for on three counts of terroristic threats; and 27 months to 10 years, each on three counts of aggravated assault.
At the time of the shooting, Bentler was wanted on a felony arrest warrant stemming from a July 19, 2020 incident. He entered a guilty plea last month to counts of theft and simple assault lodged in that case.
According to the police affidavit, Bentler punched and kicked a Lanesboro man, and stole a rifle from the home.
He was sentenced to serve 18 months to 5 years consecutive to the other sentences for the theft charge; followed by 3-24 months for the simple assault.
In addition to those sentences, Bentler will also serve a concurrent 3-24 months on a simple assault count stemming from a June 10, 2021 incident in Hallstead.
A detailed listing of the sentencing can be found in the Sentencing report on Page 4.
On July 20, 2020, three Pennsylvania State Police troopers responded to the scene on Harmony Road where Bentler was observed to be standing behind the rear driver’s corner of a pickup truck and holding a rifle, pointed in the direction of the law enforcement officers.
Police began issuing repeated verbal commands for Bentler to put the rifle down, but he ignored the commands the moved from behind the pickup truck to where he had clear aim of the troopers, according to court documents filed in the case.
A trooper then fired three rounds from his patrol rifle, striking Bentler who then dropped to the ground and lost control of the rifle while falling. Bentler was transported to Geisinger CMC Trauma Center in Scranton. No troopers were injured during the incident.