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Convicted murderer in Santa Maria to be released from court ordered mental health treatment

Nicholas Bendle in 2009

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - A man convicted of a murder in Santa Maria years ago will be released from court-ordered treatment and supervision of Solano County CONREP (Conditional Release Program).

Nicholas Bendle, 31, completed his intensive mental health treatment and a judge determined his mental disorder is no longer a threat.

The murder happened back in 2009 when Bendle used a hatchet to kill a 69-year-old man.

Mental health experts tied the killing to a psychotic break and undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenia.

Bendle has since completed several mental health transition programs. In July 2018, he transitioned to living independently under CONREP supervision.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office is opposed to Bendle's release.

"Mr. Bendle’s discharge from the program as premature due to recent life altering events in Mr. Bendle’s life, as well as a lack of an aftercare plan. The District Attorney’s Office consulted with Mr. Bendle’s treating psychiatrist at Patton State Hospital, as well as reviewing years of CONREP program records, to conduct a thorough assessment of his progress as it relates to public safety concerns," The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office wrote.

Bendle filed a petition for Restoration to Santity, seeking release from CONREP supervision.

The judge who granted the petition ruled there was no significant evidence of Bendle currently being a threat to the health and safety of others.

The judge heard the testimony of Bendle’s psychiatrist since 2015 (Dr. Scott Turpin), his prior CONREP clinician (Christie Vice); his current CONREP clinician (Mia DeSoto), and the Solano County CONREP Community Program Director (Dr. Sheela Puri). None of the expert witnesses said that Bendle is a continuing danger as a result of his mental disorder. 

Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County

Yizel Medrano

Yizel Medrano is a producer at KEYT|KCOY|KKFX.

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Karen Cruz-Orduña

Karen Cruz-Orduña is a reporter for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Karen, click here.

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