Man found guilty of grisly northwest Austin murder gets life

Irwin Pentland at his murder trial on Nov. 28, 2017. (KXAN Photo)
Irwin Pentland at his murder trial on Nov. 28, 2017. (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man who shot and killed a 75-year-old man in his garage in November 2015 will spend the rest of his life in prison.

A jury found Irwin Pentland, 48, guilty of capital murder Wednesday. He was automatically sentenced to life without parole.

Pentland killed Phillip Liberty and left his body in the garage of his home on Las Ventanas Drive in northwest Austin on Nov. 19, in what court documents showed to be a grisly crime scene.

Authorities said Pentland was behind on child support payments when he started stealing money from Liberty and killed him.

Phillip Liberty (Department of Public Safety Photo)
Phillip Liberty (Department of Public Safety Photo)

A trail of blood suggested Pentland dragged Liberty’s body from the living room to the garage.

Police said the killer altered the murder scene, cleaned parts of the living room, rearranged furniture and, at some point, likely abandoned a plan to dispose of Liberty’s body in his own Mercedes-Benz, which had a trunk lined with pieces of carpet. A search of Pentland’s laptop showed he searched for firearm suppressors — also known as silencers — around the time of the murder.

Pentland told police he had known Liberty for seven years and had been at Liberty’s home Nov. 18 to discuss “a proposed business endeavor.”

Financial records showed Pentland cashed, or attempted to cash, several checks totaling $22,300 from two of Liberty’s bank accounts “in the days prior, day of and days after the murder.”

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