LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — [Editor’s note: I normally do not write about crimes committed by trans people, however in this case, relationship difficulties during transition was a major contributing factor in the death, hence it’s newsworthiness.]
The 5-year long saga of police sergeant Lynn Edward Benton finally came to an end last week when he was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the death of his wife, Debbie Higbee Benton.
Both Bentons were well known in the small Portland suburb of Gladstone, Oregon. Higbee Benton was a long-time small business owner and Sgt. Benton was on the city’s police force for 20 years. They met in 2008 and married in 2010.
Just prior to getting married, Benton began transitioning which apparently lead to a deterioration in their relationship, including domestic violence allegations. Prosecutors said Benton offered his long time friend money to have his wife killed. In May 2011, Higbee Benton was found dead in her place of business.
The verdict last week came after 5 years of twists and turns. Benton, however, was in jail during most of that period. There is no word on whether Benton will appeal. The two other people involved in the murder have yet to go to trial.
This drama unfolded like a bad television show. Those of us in the local area had a hard time believing Benton would be involved in such a crime. No rational police sergeant bent on committing a crime would have hired such bizarro characters to carry out the dirty deed — or so we thought.
On the upside, the local media, for the most part, did not exploit Benson’s status as a trans person.
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