Trial continues for murder of a retired IBM Executive

Testimony continued Thursday for the shooting death of a retired IBM executive. Phillip Liberty was killed inside his West Austin home in 2015. A friend of his is on trial for his murder.

Thursday morning prosecutors continued walking jurors through the crime scene at victim Phillip Liberty's West Austin home.

Detective Ray Tynes surmised Liberty was in or near his recliner in his living room in November 2015 when he was shot in the face. A blood trail showed his body was then dragged into the garage.  

Tynes says Liberty's friend, Irwin or "Ernie" Pentland, who said he visited him on November 18, committed the crime and prepared the trunk of Liberty's car to transport the body. But he stopped short of completing the task leaving the body on the floor of the garage.

Tynes has a theory as to why. It involves Liberty's grandson whom he cared for.

"It is my opinion and my theory the reason that stopped was that child, a two-year-old child at daycare had to be picked up. If he was not, the daycare would be alerted which would draw focus to the home,” said Tynes.

Pentland picked up the boy from daycare. The child was taken to Pentland's mother's home which was unoccupied at the time. He was left alone to sleep. 

Photos demonstrated potential hazards. A diaper bag belonging to Liberty was found inside.
The child was returned to daycare the next morning.

Soon after Pentland placed a phone call to Liberty. 

Voicemail:  "Hey Phil, it's Ernie. Give me a call I tried your cell phone also."

Though the defense repeatedly had Tynes confirm no murder weapon found.

"No gun was found,” said Tynes.

Tynes said it was no surprise that the weapon was missing because it appears the murder was planned. Liberty's family describes Pentland as a con artist. A bit of that came to light through testimony of a friend. She allowed Pentland to stay in her home at the request of his wife because she said he was in law school and needed to study for the bar exam.  

"It's a common known fact he's in law school,” said Shelly Moore.

Prosecutors proved that false by having her read a letter from the board of law examiners.

“The Board of Law Examiners has no record regarding Irwin Pentland, date of birth August, 29, 1969,” Moore read.

Bank fraud investigators then showed images of Pentland either cashing or depositing four checks from Liberty’s accounts totaling $21,000 in the days leading up to Liberty’s body being found.
Through cross examination the defense indicated the exchange of funds was perhaps due to business dealings between the two men.

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