Sen. Jon Tester’s Nephew Dead in Ax Murder
Police say Robert Tester—nephew of a Montana senator—was attacked in his Spokane, Washington, home in a possible drug-related slaying as his young daughter cowered in her bed.
Early on a school morning, a stranger burst into the bedroom where Robert Tester’s daughter was sleeping. The man told the 8-year-old to stay in bed. He was going to kill her father.
Tester, nephew of Montana Sen. Jon Tester, was found dead in his home outside of Spokane, Washington, on Tuesday morning. According to police, the murderer attacked Robert Tester with a wood-splitting axe, killing him in his living room while his young daughter hid in bed. Tester left behind bags of marijuana and a mysterious Facebook post that appeared to predict his troubles.
Tester’s 8-year-old daughter told police she had been asleep with her father when a man with “a sword and a knife,” entered the room, according to police testimony in court documents obtained by the Spokesman-Review. (Spokane Police did not return The Daily Beast’s requests for the documents.) “The man told her to stay in bed because he was going to kill her dad,” the documents read.
Police say the girl did as she was told. “The juvenile was not injured and did not witness the incident,” the Spokane Sheriff’s office said in a statement. But afterward, the young girl was left to report the murder. The court documents say she called her grandmother, who called police, who arrived at the rural home shortly after 7 a.m.
They entered the home to a scene of carnage. Robert Tester was dead, lying in “a large pool of blood,” the documents said. Blood stained the walls and floor in the living room and throughout the home. Next to his body lay an “ax-like maul,” stained with Tester’s blood.
Police have yet to name any suspects in the slaying. But days before his death, Tester appeared to allude to brewing trouble. In their report, police included an Aug. 25 Facebook post, in which Tester predicted “hard days” at the hands of an unnamed enemy.
“Im not one for drama. I stick to myself for a reason. Don’t do family bbqs for a reason,” Tester wrote. “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. Someone i treated like a brother and trusted. I love you all and hope you can understand my never-ending pain. He took my best friend from me and turned her life into darkness, thru drugs and manipulation… This isn’t putting anyone on blast or me needing sympathy or attention. Keep it. Place it upon your spouse or kids… Just understand why I roar when i do. Understand my agony.”
Police also discovered multiple bags of marijuana near Tester’s body in the living room, and reported that the house smelled of weed. Tester’s family told police they weren’t surprised; the grandmother said he grew his own product and sold it to medical marijuana dispensaries.
Recreational marijuana is legal in Washington State, but only if purchased from a licensed dispensary. State residents are not allowed to grow their own weed, or sell it to licensed dealers. Reached by phone by The Daily Beast, the dispensaries nearest Tester’s home said his name was unfamiliar.
Tester’s uncle, Montana Sen. Jon Tester, said the family wished for privacy after the death.
“Senator Tester and his family appreciate the privacy given during this difficult time,” the senator’s office said in a statement.