A 46-year-old Buffalo woman appeared in 4th Judicial District Court in Johnson County Monday for her 1st Degree Murder trial. Leah Benjamin is accused of intentionally shooting her estranged husband, Donald Benjamin, in May 2009.
During opening arguments, the prosecution painted a picture of Benjamin that was obsessive-compulsive. They argued that she could not accept the fact that her husband left their relationship. The State says Benjamin kept cell phone messages and recordings of conversations with her husband over a period of years, and that she lured him to her trailer on the morning he was shot with the intention of killing him.
Benjamin’s attorney is Hardy Tate from Sheridan. Tate argued that the shooting was self-defense. The defense claims that Donald Benjamin was a heavy drinker and became violent with the defendant on numerous occasions. Tate informed the jury that his client admitted to lying to the victim on the morning he was killed, but never expected Donald Benjamin to come to her home.
Benjamin has been incarcerated in the Johnson County Detention Center since she turned herself in to authorities nearly 15 hours after the shooting. Both sides expect the jury trial in front of Judge John Fenn to last into next week. If convicted, Benjamin could be sent to prison for the rest of her life.