Brian Eleron Hancock, 49, said he was in contact with Bentz, 68, for five days after Bentz disappeared Nov. 21, 2017 when he was last seen at a Midway Drive gym. Hancock claimed Bentz had planned a vacation to Mexico and doesn't know what happened to him.
Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Dort showed Hancock some bloody sections of the carpeting in Bentz's apartment, and Hancock said he never saw any blood stains. Investigators found Bentz's blood in 17 locations in his Greene Street apartment and it appeared someone tried to clean up the scene.
Hancock said Bentz gave him credit cards and his car to use because Hancock was low on funds. Hancock confirmed he purchased bleach, a saw, a "survival knife," cleaning supplies, and other items.
The seven-woman, five-man jury and San Diego Superior Court Judge Joan Weber have seen video surveillance footage of Hancock buying the items in several stores. Hancock is an electrician who lived in National City and met Bentz when he did some electrical work for him.
Hancock also said he wasn't angry at Bentz after hearing a woman tell him that Bentz videotaped Hancock and herself while having sex and put the tape online. The woman said she got a message with a clip to a video that asked her "is this you, Rosa?"
Hancock testified that he and the woman could not open the video, so he wondered what was on it. He said he received assurances from Bentz that he did not videotape them.
Dort said in his opening statement on Jan. 7 that Hancock was enraged by the idea of a sex video of himself and this woman. Dort said Hancock had admitted to a friend that he stabbed Bentz seven times.
Hancock told jurors he was not upset because "there wasn't a video." In fact, Hancock said that Bentz had videotaped him and Bentz engaging in sex acts and that Bentz put it online.
Hancock said the only apprehension he had about the video was that he didn't want his wife or children to see it. He said he was reassured that it was only a live feed that someone could not access afterward.
Hancock also said he showed up at Bentz's apartment days before he disappeared and found him making a sex video with three other men. Hancock claimed Bentz offered him up to $3,000 to be in the video. He also said that he told the truth about it to his wife when he got home.
"How'd that go?" asked Dort.
"Not well," replied Hancock. "I told her I was making a video, a group sex video. I told her it was me and three other guys."
"She was very upset with that information. She said, 'How could you do this?" said Hancock, adding that he did it for the money. "She was still livid, disgusted."
Hancock's ex-wife, Angelina Hancock, was called by Dort as a rebuttal witness after Hancock finished testifying. Angelina Hancock has signed a cooperation agreement with the DA's office that protects her from being charged as an accessory after the fact.
Angelina Hancock testified her husband never told her about making the sex video or the offer of $3,000 to do it. She married him 20 years ago, but they are now divorced.
She did, however, say "he discussed burying Peter" in a phone conversation from jail.
"Did you tell them where?" she said her husband asked her.
Dort asked her what that meant, and she said: "it referred to where he buried the body."
"I told him I didn't know where," said Angelina Hancock.
She also said she first learned of the sexual relationship between her husband and Bentz after reading a sexually-oriented text from Bentz on Hancock's phone while he was in the shower.
"As he recently shared with me about his relationship with Peter, it's something I can't provide for him," said Angelina Hancock.
She testified she followed him as he drove Bentz's vehicle to Logan Heights, although she did not know Bentz had been killed. She said her husband threw a plastic bag over a fence near a freeway. Investigators found it was personal identification papers belonging to Bentz.
"He had led me to believe Peter was a client," said Angelina Hancock.
She said her husband buried a ring belonging to Bentz in their back yard. Angelina Hancock said her husband later dug it up and she didn't know what happened to it.
She said he offered her some china dishes from a missing cedar chest that was taken from Bentz's apartment. She said she asked him to get rid of it.
San Diego Police detective Kevin Iwasaki testified there were no charges from Mexico on any of Bentz's credit cards.
Watching the trial intently is Kirk Bentz, the victim's younger brother who testified that his brother had planned on having Thanksgiving with his family in San Pedro before he disappeared. Kirk Bentz said he believes his brother is no longer alive.
Closing arguments and jury deliberations were expected this week. Hancock remains in jail on $2.25 million bail. His attorney is seeking an acquittal and Hancock has pleaded not guilty.