updated 8/4/2009 8:38:46 PM ET 2009-08-05T00:38:46

A 20-year-old man has been charged with decapitating another man with a hatchet as the victim took a morning walk.

Prosecutors say Nicholas Bendle was charged Tuesday with murder.

Santa Maria police say Bendle attacked 69-year-old Frederick Holgate early Saturday as the victim walked with his cane. Police say they have no motive for the attack or evidence to suggest Bendle and Holgate knew each other.

Police say Bendle was arrested after someone in his home called police to say he had just returned covered in blood. He had been reported missing.

Lt. Dan Ast says the hatchet had been stolen during a recent home burglary.

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