Sen. John Tester’s Nephew Found Killed Inside His Home
By J.J. GALLAGHER
Sep 8, 2016, 3:26 AM ET
A nephew of U.S. Senator Jon Tester was killed in his home in Washington state by a man suspected of wielding an ax and telling his 8-year-old daughter to stay in her room because he was going to kill her father, police said Wednesday night.
Bob Tester, 35, was found lying in a pool of blood in his residence outside the city of Spokane on Tuesday morning, reports KXLY, a local ABC affiliate.
“We do not believe that this was a random act,” said Mark Gregory of the Spokane Sheriff’s Office. “We do believe that the suspect knew the victim.”
Along with the police report, authorities also released the full text of Tester’s last Facebook post.
“There’s gonna be some hard days ahead of us but i want you all to know that I was victimized by someone close to me,” the Aug. 25 post reads. “He took my best friend from me and turned her life into darkness, thru drugs and manipulation… Just understand why I roar when i do. Understand my agony.”
Tester’s 8-year-old daughter told police she was asleep in bed with her father when she was awoken by a man beating him and wielding what the young girl described as “a sword and a knife,” according to court documents.
“The man told her to stay in bed because he was going to kill her dad,” the police report states.
Officers say they found a blood-stained wood-splitting ax lying next to Tester’s body, in “a large pool of blood.”
Deputies described a gruesome scene, with “blood on the walls and floor throughout the residence,” the court documents state.
The young girl called her grandmother to report the death.
Deputies also reported finding bags of marijuana near the body and said that the home smelled of pot. The girl’s grandmother told deputies her son grew marijuana for several dispensaries, KXLY reported.
Authorities say they have not detained a suspect in the case so far, noting that they will be looking into the victim’s cell phone records for any possible leads.
Senator Jon Tester’s press office said “his family would prefer privacy during this difficult time.”
EDIT TO ADD: Here is another version of the story, and it expands Tester’s Facebook post quote to include a comment about his family:
“A detective included in court documents a cryptic Aug. 25 Facebook post from Bob Tester.
It read, in part, “I stick to myself for a reason. Don’t do family bbqs for a reason. There’s gonna be some hard days ahead of us but i want you all to know that I was victimized by someone close to me. He took my best friend from me and turned her life into darkness, thru drugs and manipulation. Just understand why I roar when i do. Understand my agony.”
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jon-tester-senator-nephew-bob-tester-slain-docs-suspect-told-his-young-daughter-to-stay-in-bed/ Archive: http://archive.is/FvJOx
Suspect arrested: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/jan/06/secretly-recorded-phone-call-led-to-arrest-of-robe/ Archive: http://archive.is/itxB8
Jon Tester and his wife reportedly used to operate an unlicensed custom butchering service at their farm, and despite repeated visits from state health inspectors, no punitive action was ever taken and no license was apparently ever mandated or obtained. Tester closed down the butchering operation in 1998, the same year he first ran for state office in Montana.
http://helenair.com/news/state-and-regional/tester-s-butcher-business-never-licensed/article_0f468cd7-9c73-500e-845b-477050f2c460.html Archive: http://archive.is/Xmqao
Tester’s butcher business never licensed
JENNIFER McKEE – IR State Bureau – 10/31/2006 Oct 30, 2006 0
HELENA – Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jon Tester never had a state-required license for the butchering business he ran at his Big Sandy-area farm. State records show an inspector visited the shop, but did not cite Tester for breaking the law.
Tester cut meat in an outbuilding on his family farm beginning in the late 1970s. He took the butcher business over from his father, Tester said, who first started cutting meat in the family’s basement in the 1950s to make extra money. Tester took the business over after he and his wife assumed the family farm, he said, and realized they couldn’t make enough money farming.
Tester said his father never had a license and he didn’t realize he needed a license, either.
Failure to have a license for the kind of custom butchering Tester did is a misdemeanor, according to state law, punishable by a $500 fine. However, Tester said several inspectors had come to look at the place over the years and he was never cited, fined or told to get a license.
“The state knew about it because they’d been out,” Tester said.
State records show a compliance officer visited Tester’s farm in 1990, but he was never cited for anything, including a lack of a license.
State law lays out three different levels for meat cutters in Montana. People who cut meat for their own use do not need any license at all. People who cut up meat brought to them by the owner of the livestock for the owner’s own personal use need a license and are generally inspected several times a year, said Carol Olmstead, chief of the Montana Department of Livestock’s Meat Inspection Bureau. However, these meat cutters need not be inspected daily and do not have to stamp their meat with the official state inspected seal.
Finally, wholesale meat cutters – people who cut meat to be sold to grocery stores and the like – must have a license, be inspected daily and stamp their meat with an official stamp.
Tester fell into the middle category. He cut meat for livestock owners, mostly neighbors, he said.
Tester said an inspector came to the place in the early 1970s when his dad was running it. The first time an inspector came to the shop under Tester’s ownership was in the early 1990s. That inspector came in with a gun, said Tester, who asked the man to leave in a heated exchange.
A few days later, Tester said, “another inspector came out and said, ‘Fine.”‘
State records show that inspector later sent Tester a copy of the state sanitation regulations that Tester requested.
In 1998, when Tester was considering scaling back the operation, a third inspector came out.
“I said, ‘Look, if there’s any problems here, just tell me and we’ll board it up,’ ” Tester said. The man brought up no problems.
He closed the butcher operation voluntarily later that year, the same year Tester ran for his first term in the state Senate.
Erik Iverson, a spokesman for Republican Sen. Conrad Burns, said he found Tester’s explanation thin.
“I have a difficult time believing that a guy who rose to the president of the Montana Senate didn’t know that he needed a license to operate his (meat cutting) business,” [said] Iverson. “This is proof positive that the only law breaker in this race is Jon Tester.”
Iverson’s comment was a reference to Tester’s use of automated fundraising phone calls earlier this year in the Democratic Senate primary election.
“Jon Tester does not need a lecture on the law from someone currently under two separate federal investigations,” said Tester spokesman Matt McKenna.
McKenna’s comments refer to the U.S. Justice Department lobbying scandal investigation and a second probe into a troubled University of Montana space spin-off company initially funded with millions of federal dollars earmarked by Burns.
Jon Tester lost three fingers of his left hand in a meat grinder as a 9-year-old on the family farm. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Tester Photo: http://archive.is/9v6ia
In a carry-on suitcase, he transports meat from his family farm just about everywhere he goes, even Hawaii: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/11/dining/senator-jon-tester-brings-dinner-from-montana.html Archive: http://archive.is/baJhz
Edited to correct typos.