09-27-2011, 09:04 PM #1
TX - Leona Benzing, 79, brutally murdered in her San Antonio home, 22 Sept 2009
Prosecutors: Cat stench, ailing wife led husband to kill
Their North Side home reeked from the overflowing litter boxes of more than 50 cats, and John Philip Benzing had decided he'd had enough of his wife's mental and physical issues, prosecutors said Tuesday.
But how he dealt with that frustration — bashing the head of Leona Benzing, 79, with a hammer as she napped, then stabbing her twice with a butcher knife before slitting her throat — was the most violent option imaginable for ending their 27-year marriage, Assistant District Attorney Meli Carrion told jurors as his murder trial began.
Leona Benzing, who was estranged from her adult children, did have mental problems, as shown by the number of cats in their home, Carrion said.
“The person that she relied on every day ... was John Benzing,” Carrion said. “The man that killed her was her partner in life who got tired of taking care of her.”
09-30-2011, 09:44 PM #2
TX - Jury convicts husband who said cat poop prompted killing
Jury convicts husband who said cat poop prompted killing
On the same evening the lifeless body of Leona Benzing, 79, was found curled into a fetal position in her bed — a blood-covered hammer and butcher knife left on a pillow next to her bashed-in head — her husband of 27 years twice told authorities he was the killer.
On Monday, jurors will begin hearing testimony for their next task: Determining the punishment for Benzing, who prosecutors said killed his wife because he was tired of dealing with her mental and physical ailments, and of futilely trying to clean up after the more than 50 cats she brought into their North Side house.
During the first phase of the trial, prosecutors Christopher Ramos and Meli Carrion played a crime scene video showing blood-spattered walls and cat feces piled and smeared across multiple rooms. A longtime neighbor of the couple testified that Leona Benzing was known to have a mental illness that seemed to get worse through the years.
11-11-2015, 01:48 PM #3
From October 2011:
After two full days of unsuccessful jury deliberations, murder convict John Philip Benzing opted Thursday afternoon to take his sentencing into his own hands.
Benzing — who bludgeoned and stabbed to death his wife of 27 years, citing in part frustration over their houseful of more than 50 cats — accepted a 20-year prison term as part of a last-minute plea deal in which he won't be able to appeal last week's guilty verdict.
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