Two brothers suspected in a fatal stabbing that led to a lengthy standoff in San Jose last month were arrested in Salt Lake City on Wednesday afternoon. Jonathan Alexander Bess, 20, and Brian James Bess, 23, were taken into custody after a Salt Lake City police sergeant saw them sitting on Main Street, according to Salt Lake City police. The brothers are suspected in the fatal stabbing of James Cotta, 51, around 1:45 a.m. on April 27, in what was San Jose’s 11th homicide of 2012.
The arresting officer, Salt Lake City police Sgt. Jeff Webb, said he was riding his bike down Main Street when he noticed the Bess brothers sitting on one of the tree-filled planter boxes that line the busy downtown thoroughfare. Webb said he recognized the pair from photos sent by San Jose police, who had information leading them to believe that the brothers might have fled to Utah. Webb said both men initially gave fake names when he asked them to identify themselves, but once in handcuffs admitted that they were Jonathan and Brian Bess. Webb said neither attempted to resist arrest or flee.
On the morning of the murder, Cotta was found suffering from stab wounds in front of a home in the 200 block of Cleveland Avenue. He was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where he died. Residents of the home had reported the stabbing, but when police officers arrived, one of the residents barricaded himself inside the home, police said. The officers had information that there were guns in the house, so they decided to retreat and call in a SWAT team. Police spent several hours attempting to communicate with the barricaded person, and at about 11 a.m., he voluntarily exited the home and surrendered. All of the people found at the home, including the resident who was barricaded, were questioned and released. Police then began searching for the Bess brothers, saying they believed the brothers were involved in the stabbing and fled before officers arrived.
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