Police accuse man of endangering homicide victim’s grandchild

In the course of investigating the death of Phillip Liberty, a 75-year-old man killed in his Northwest Austin home last month, Austin police have charged a man with endangering Liberty’s grandson.

Liberty, a retiree who lived in a gated community, followed a strict daily routine that included taking his 2-year-old grandson to visit with a neighbor every morning before dropping the child off at day care center, an arrest affidavit said.

So when Liberty didn’t bring the child over to visit on the morning of Nov. 19, the neighbor called the police. Later that day, officers found Liberty in the garage of the home and notified homicide detectives, the affidavit said.

The affidavit went on to state the following:

Detectives found evidence that Liberty’s body had been moved into the garage after being shot and killed inside his home on Las Ventanas Drive. Police also believe that someone cleaned and altered the area in the home where he was killed.

When police went to the child’s day care, they spoke with a teacher and assistant director who said that on the previous day, a man they had never met before picked up the child.

Staff had photocopied the man’s driver’s license, which indicated it was Irwin Pentland, 46, who had taken the child.

Police went to Pentland’s house and he volunteered to be interviewed by the homicide unit. But before he left, he told his wife, “Don’t tell them anything,” the affidavit said.

Pentland told police that Liberty had asked him to pick up the child from the day care the day before police found Liberty’s body.

Pentland at first said that he had picked up Liberty’s grandson, took the child back to Liberty’s house but found it empty. He then grabbed some child care supplies and took the child to his South Austin home, he told police.

But when investigators asked Pentland if his wife was surprised by him bringing a child home, police said Pentland changed his story.

He told police he never took the 2-year-old home; instead, he took the child to the home of Pentland’s mother, who wasn’t in town.

Pentland admitted to police he didn’t tell his wife he was caring for Liberty’s grandson. He told investigators he would leave the child alone for multiple periods, wait until his wife fell asleep, go over to his mother’s home and return before his wife woke up.

Police searched Pentland’s mother’s home and found numerous toxic chemicals and other items that might pose a danger to a 2-year-old, according to the affidavit.

Austin police declined to comment on whether Pentland is a suspect in Liberty’s murder. The two had met seven years ago in a support group, and Pentland said he met with Liberty the day before his body was discovered to talk about a proposed business deal, the affidavit said.

Police have charged Pentland with abandoning or endangering a child. Pentland was in the Travis County Jail on Thursday with bail set at $200,000.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In line with American-Statesman standards, the name of Phillip Liberty’s grandson has been removed from this article.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

George H.W. Bush hospitalized in Maine
George H.W. Bush hospitalized in Maine

Former President George H.W. Bush was hospitalized Sunday after “experiencing low blood pressure and fatigue,” spokesman Jim McGrath announced in a Twitter post. Bush was taken to Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford, Maine. “He will likely remain there for a few days for observation,” McGrath said. “The former president...
Kyle police investigating dead bicyclist found along I-35
Kyle police investigating dead bicyclist found along I-35

Kyle police say they are investigating the death of a bicyclist who was found along Interstate 35 by a passing motorist. According to a news release, the roads in that area, the I-35 southbound exit ramp at exit 210 and Highway 81 west access will be shut down temporarily while investigators are on the scene. The victim is an adult male and police...
Man injured in North Austin stabbing, EMS says

NORTH AUSTIN EMS: Man injured in stabbing A man in his 30s was injured early Sunday after a stabbing in North Austin, officials said. Austin-Travis County EMS and Austin police responded to reports of stabbing at Rutland Drive and N. Lamar Blvd. shortly after midnight. Medics took the victim to Dell Seton Medical Center with serious, not expected to...
Man arrested after firing gun in crowded Sixth Street area, police say
Man arrested after firing gun in crowded Sixth Street area, police say

Austin police arrested early Sunday a man accused of firing a weapon in a crowded area on Sixth Street, according to an arrest affidavit. Officers responded just after 2 a.m. to the intersection of Sixth Street and San Jacinto Road after reports of shots being fired in the area. Police say the shooter, identified in the affidavit as 22-year old Keshawn...
Texas Digest: Officers say man brandished handgun before they shot him

SOUTHEAST TEXAS Officers kill man they say had gun Texas Rangers are investigating the fatal shooting of a 51-year-old man in Southeast Texas after authorities said he threatened officers with a handgun. Authorities said police from Silsbee and Hardin County sheriff’s deputies made a traffic stop Saturday and the man emerged from his truck carrying...
More Stories