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  1. #1
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    Trent Christopher Benson - Arizona Death Row




    Testimony has begun in the trial of a Mesa man accused of raping and killing two prostitutes and sexually assaulting two other women in attacks that he said stemmed from his rage about how much they were charging or his own sexual performance.

    Trent Christopher Benson, 39, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, and four counts each of kidnapping and sexual assault in crimes that occurred in Phoenix and Mesa between 2004 and 2007. If convicted, Benson could be sentenced to the death penalty.

    Benson has confessed to the two murders and one of the rapes, claiming that in all three cases, he argued with prostitutes over payment and his performance. He denied any role in a fourth rape.

    Prosecutor Kirsten Valenzuela said that DNA evidence linked Benson to all four attacks, something police had previously said.

    Valenzuela and defense attorney Tim Agan detailed the attacks during their opening statements, much of the information coming from Benson's statements to Mesa police, The Arizona Republic on Wednesday reported (http://bit.ly/piL49e ).

    On Oct. 31, 2004, Benson told police that he picked up Alisa Marie Beck, a prostitute, after visiting a strip club and that he became angry when she complained about how long he took to have sex. Benson strangled her, slammed her face into the steering wheel, tore her genitals and then dumped her body.

    A family of seven found her the next day, naked from the waist down, face-up and on the gravel. She was one day shy of turning 22.

    It would take three years before police made an arrest in her murder — after another prostitute was strangled and dumped in the street and two other women were sexually assaulted. On Oct. 14, 2007, Karen Campbell — a 44-year-old prostitute — went to Benson's house to have sex with him. Benson said she wanted more money and that she became violent when he refused.

    He told police that he blacked out and awoke to find her dead on his floor; he dumped her body nearby.

    Benson also was accused in the kidnapping and rapes of two women. On the afternoon of Aug. 16, 2007, a 48-year-old woman was walking in Mesa when two men jumped out of a white car and put a chemical-soaked rag over her face.

    She passed out, according to Valenzuela, and awoke to a man raping her while the second man filmed them. She reported seeing herself on large-format TVs as she was being raped. The two men were distracted by a sound in the house, and the woman grabbed her clothes and fled.

    Benson denied any part in the incident, but his DNA was found on the woman's body. The second man was never identified, and some of the details the woman gave about her attacker did not match Benson.

    The other sexual assault was on Nov. 4, 2007, when Benson admitted to snatching a 34-year-old homeless woman off the street in Phoenix, dragging her to his car, raping her and choking her until she lost consciousness. Police said Benson tore the woman's genitals and left her, but a taxi driver who saw her lying in the street called police and she survived.

    Benson said the woman was a prostitute and that they had quarreled over the deal. Valenzuela said the woman was not a prostitute.

    Police got a break in the case when yet another woman told them that an Asian male had followed her and tried to get her into his car. She said she recognized him as a regular at a Mesa bar.

    When police went to the bar, they questioned Benson and put him under surveillance at the ice-and-water store he owned in Mesa. When he flicked a cigarette butt into the street, detectives picked it up and matched DNA to the four attacks.

    Tim Agan, Benson's attorney, said that Benson was born in South Korea and was abandoned as an infant. He was adopted by a family in Minnesota and was about to flee there when he was arrested in May 2008.

    Benson, Agan said, explained his history with prostitutes and his disdain for women in general. But he argued that the two fatal attacks to which Benson admitted were crimes in the heat of the moment — second-degree murders, not premeditated or felony first-degree murders.

    And since the three attacks Benson admits committing took place during acts of prostitution, Agan said, they were consensual sex, not rapes and there was no forcible restraint necessary to the crimes of kidnapping.

    The trial is expected to last until at least November.

    http://www.therepublic.com/view/stor...illings-Trial/

  2. #2
    Thats insane. Trials in Texas usually last about 2 weeks. This one is gonna be 3 months long? Thats unusually long.

  3. #3
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    A Maricopa County Superior Court jury on Monday found Trent Benson of Mesa guilty of strangling two prostitutes to death.

    Benson, 39, was found guilty on all charges, which included two counts of first-degree murder, four counts of kidnapping, three counts of sexual assault and one count of attempted sexual assault.

    The jury will reconvene later Monday to begin the second phase of trial to determine whether there are aggravating factors in the crimes that would merit imposing the death penalty as a sentence.


    Benson admitted to beating and strangling prostitutes Alisa Marie Beck, 21, in November 2004, and Karen Campbell, 44, in October 2007, during rages prompted by payment disputes and his inability to perform sexually.

    In November 2007, Benson also picked up a homeless woman and asked her if she wanted to make some money by having sex with him. She, too, was throttled and beaten and left unconscious along the roadside. Benson denied another sexual assault, in which a woman fled his house after claiming to have been kidnapped, raped and photographed by him.

    Benson was working in a family water and ice store in Mesa when he was arrested.

    Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articl...#ixzz1XloXozpJ

  4. #4
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    Mesa man may face death following murder conviction

    A Maricopa County Superior Court jury has found aggravating factors that could merit a death penalty for convicted killer Trent Benson.

    Benson, 39, of Mesa, was found guilty Monday on two counts of first-degree murder, four counts of kidnapping, three counts of sexual assault and one count of attempted sexual assault.

    Prosecutors are seeking death penalties for the 2004 murder of Alisa Marie Beck, 21, and the 2007 murder of Karen Campbell, 44. Both women were prostitutes that Benson admitting killing after flying into rages when the women protested how long it took him to perform sexually. Then he dumped their bodies on the street or in an alley.

    He was also found guilty of attacks on two other women in 2007, one of whom he left for dead by the roadside.

    On Tuesday, the jury found three aggravating factors: that Benson had been convicted of other crimes that could by punished by life or death sentences, namely the multiple murders; that he was convicted of other serious crimes, namely kidnapping and sexual assault; and that the murders were committed in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner.

    The jury has already begun to hear testimony from witnesses on Benson's behalf that may mitigate the aggravating factors. Then jurors will have to weigh whether the mitigation outweighs the aggravation. If not, they are obligated to bring back death sentences.

    Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articl...#ixzz1Xvzpybqe

  5. #5
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    Mesa man gets death in killings of prostitutes

    A Maricopa County Superior Court jury on Friday sentenced Trent Benson to death for the murders of two prostitutes he beat to death and dumped by the roadside, one in 2004 and the other in 2007.

    He was sentenced to an additional 135.5 years in prison for eight other offenses that include kidnapping and sexual assault.

    Benson, who turned 40 Friday, was a single dad living in Mesa with his young son. He ran a water and ice store there for his adoptive parents, who still lived in Minnesota. But he had a secret life, and after nights of drinking at strip clubs, he would prowl the streets of Phoenix looking for prostitutes. Benson had already been arrested several times for soliciting prostitutes and had been convicted of public indecency.

    In May 2008, Mesa Police got a tip that Benson had followed a woman who recognized him from a bar he frequented, and they placed him under surveillance as a suspect in string of assaults on women that took place in 2004 and 2007, including the two murders.

    While under surveillance, police saw Benson flick a cigarette into the street outside his family's store. They lifted his DNA from the cigarette butt and matched it to DNA found on the victims. Benson was attempting to take his son to his home state of Minnesota when he was arrested.

    During interviews by detectives, Benson admitted to beating and strangling prostitutes Alisa Marie Beck, 21, in November 2004 and Karen Campbell, 44, in October 2007. In both instances, he claimed he flew into a rage when they asked for more money or wanted to stop after he could not perform sexually.

    Benson also admitted picking up a homeless woman in November 2007 and asking her if she wanted to make some money by having sex with him. She, too, was beaten and left unconscious along the roadside. Benson denied the fourth sexual assault, in which a woman fled his house after claiming to have been kidnapped, raped and photographed by him. His DNA was found on her body.

    As seen in tapes and videos of his police interviews and videos, which were played for the jury, Benson vaguely remembered having sex with a woman who fit her description, but claimed that the sex was consensual and that he had paid her for it. Benson's defense attorney claimed it made no sense that he would confess to the more serious crimes of murder and another sexual assault case, but not to the assault of that woman. Prosecutors alleged he was covering for an accomplice.

    Nonetheless, on Sept. 12, the jury found Benson guilty of all charges: Two counts of first-degree murder, four counts of kidnapping, three counts of sexual assault and one count of attempted sexual assault.

    The jury then found three aggravating factors in the murders that qualified him for the death penalty: That Benson had been convicted of other crimes that could by punished by life or death sentences, namely the multiple murders; that he was convicted of other serious crimes, namely kidnapping and sexual assault; and that the murders were committed in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner.

    Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/12news/news...#ixzz1a8GfP2nn

  6. #6
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    The Arizona Supreme Court is expected to rule on Benson's direct appeal tomorrow.
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

  7. #7
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    STATE OF ARIZONA v TRENT CHRISTOPHER BENSON

    In today's Arizona Supreme Court opinions, Benson's convictions and death sentences were AFFIRMED on direct appeal.

    After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and eight other felonies. For his crimes, Defendant was sentenced to death and prison terms. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's convictions and sentences, holding (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in its pretrial rulings; (2) the trial court did not err in instructing the jury during the aggravation phase; (3) the prosecutor did not misstate the law in his closing argument; (4) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to inform the jury of Defendant's willingness to waive parole eligibility; (5) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding victim impact evidence; (5) the jury's finding that three aggravating circumstances applied was supported by the evidence with respect to each murder; and (6) the jury did not abuse its discretion in imposing the death penalty for each murder.
    A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

  8. #8
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    Article

    Death-row inmate’s convictions, sentences in Mesa murders upheld



    An Arizona Supreme Court ruling Wednesday upholds a death row inmate’s convictions and sentences in four kidnappings and sexual assaults in which two of the victims were killed.

    Trent Christopher Benson was convicted in Maricopa County cases in which the crimes were committed between 2004 and 2007.

    Mesa police arrested Benson in 2008 after his DNA was linked to DNA found on the bodies of all four victims.

    Police had begun watching Benson based on descriptions provided by a woman who said she was repeatedly solicited by a man who frequented a particular bar.

    Police retrieved Benson’s DNA from a dropped cigarette butt.

    Benson received two death sentences for the killings of Alisa Beck and Karen Campbell as well as consecutive prison terms totaling 135.5 years.

    http://www.azcentral.com/community/m...es-upheld.html
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