Man dies a week after being stabbed

Police investigate whether wound was fatal in the end

A man who died Tuesday at his Pear Park home was stabbed in a fight with another man last week, and authorities are investigating whether one is related to the other.

Douglas Bennett, 32, died days after he was released from St. Mary’s Hospital after being treated for a stab wound to his chest, according to the Mesa County Coroner’s Office. Chief
Deputy Coroner Steve Stogsdill said additional tests will be performed before determining the cause and manner of Bennett’s death.

Grand Junction police were called to Bennett’s home at 2961 D Road just after 2:30 a.m. to assist with a medical call there, police spokeswoman Kate Porras said. Bennett died at the home.

Bennett was stabbed Thursday after he and another man, 58-year-old Mack Sadler, received a courtesy ride home from DJ’s Roadhouse, 3112 Interstate 70 Business Loop, authorities said.

Sadler told investigators Bennett harassed him during the ride and a fight ensued when they arrived at Sadler’s home in the 3100 block of Brownie Circle. Sadler said he fell down during the fight, got up, pulled out a pocketknife and stabbed Bennett, but he claimed he did so in self-defense, according to court records.

Bennett was taken to Community Hospital in a private vehicle before being transferred to St. Mary’s Hospital. Investigators indicated the knife may have nicked Bennett’s aorta.

He was in critical condition at one point. Authorities did not say when Bennett left the hospital.

Lawrence Balerio, who owns the home where Bennett, his wife and their two children live, said police told him Tuesday that no crime had occurred at the Bennett home and that they believed Bennett’s death was connected to last week’s stabbing.

Sadler was arrested following his interview with investigators last week and is being held in the Mesa County Jail on $25,000 bond. Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Savage said a possible first- or second-degree assault charge could be upgraded to murder depending upon the results of the autopsy. Prosecutors are expected to file charges Thursday.

Balerio said the Bennett family was living at the D Road address when he bought the property and some adjoining parcels a year-and-a-half ago. He said he hadn’t talked to Bennett for six or seven months but that he hadn’t run into any problems with the family.

“They seemed like a pretty nice couple,” he said. “They always pay their rent on time. I haven’t had any issues with them.”


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