Northeast Tarrant

Trial for Richland Hills father in pentagram case to get underway

Blood is seen smeared on the door frame at 3700 Ruth in Richland Hills on Dec. 12, 2012. Police say Brent Troy Bartel used a box cutter to carve a pentagram into the back of his young son, then dialed 911 and told a dispatcher, "I shed some innocent blood." When the dispatcher asked him why he did it, the man said, "It's a holy day," according to Richland Hills police.
Blood is seen smeared on the door frame at 3700 Ruth in Richland Hills on Dec. 12, 2012. Police say Brent Troy Bartel used a box cutter to carve a pentagram into the back of his young son, then dialed 911 and told a dispatcher, "I shed some innocent blood." When the dispatcher asked him why he did it, the man said, "It's a holy day," according to Richland Hills police. Star-Telegram

Brent Bartel said he turned to the Bible when he believed his wife was cheating on him in 2012.

The spirits told him they wanted a blood offering to God for what his wife had done, so he picked up a box cutter and carved a pentagram into the back of his then-6-year-old son at his Richland Hills home, according to Tarrant County court documents obtained by the Star-Telegram. The boy survived.

Bartel, 42, has been found incompetent to stand trial several times and was sent to several state hospitals in Texas, but in 2015 he was ruled competent to face the charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon/family member

In recent weeks, Bartel has been in the Tarrant County Jail.

His trial begins Tuesday.

“Dismiss (the charges) because I’m without sin,” Bartel has told his lawyer, according to court documents.

His attorney, Joetta Keene of Arlington, has filed an intent for an insanity defense. She could not be reached Monday.

Court documents provide this account of Bartel’s life:

His parents divorced when he was young and he moved with his mother to Oregon. He has told doctors he suffered signs of maladjustment as a child, with problems including neglect by his father, behavioral difficulties in school and legal troubles as a teenager.

Bartel said he met his wife, who is from the Philippines, on the Internet. They communicated for five years before they married and had a son.

Bartel has denied a history of mental health treatment, but records show he had counseling as a youngster. The Richland Hills father also didn’t tell doctors he has had suicidal thoughts, but he tried twice to kill himself before the incident with his son on Dec. 12, 2012.

Police were summoned to the Bartel home about 12:10 a.m. that day, after Bartel called 911. A neighbor also called police after the child’s mother fled to the neighbor’s home.

During the 911 call, Bartel told the Richland Hills dispatcher, “I inscribed a pentagram on my son.”

Authorities said Bartel used a box cutter to carve the pentagram, a five-pointed star.

Bartel also told the dispatcher, “I shed some innocent blood.”

Asked why he did it, Bartel replied, “It’s a holy day.”

Blood was found smeared on the frame of the front door of the home.

Bartel’s mother, in a telephone interview from Portland, Ore., in December 2012, said her son had no history of mental illness but had recently been under tremendous stress.

“Brent is not a demon,” Lori Ponce said. “He is loving. He loves that boy. Something happened. Don’t paint him as some crazy man. No, that’s not him.”

His stepfather said Bartel had been searching spiritually.

“He is deep into the Old Testament,” John Ponce said in the phone interview in a December 2012 telephone interview with the Star-Telegram.

“There’s a possibility with all of this pain and marital strife and such, he may have resorted to Old Testament references and then convoluted them. If you know about the Old Testament, there’s the Passover marks on the door frame done with a sacrificial lamb, definitely not sacrificial children.”

In the years after his arrest in 2012, Bartel has been diagnosed as suffering from schizo-affective disorder, according to court records.

His trial begins with jury selection in Criminal District Court No. 371 in Fort Worth, with Judge Mollee Westfall.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Domingo Ramirez Jr.: 817-390-7763, @mingoramirezjr

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments