Wife's cats allegedly drove man to kill

Sept. 28, 2011 at 6:49 PM

SAN ANTONIO, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- A Texas man went on trial this week on charges that he killed his 79-year-old wife because he was tired of living with her 50 cats.

Leona Benzing was beaten with a hammer and stabbed twice, Assistant District Attorney Meli Carrion told a jury Tuesday, the San Antonio Express-News reported. Carrion said John Benzing, 61, of San Antonio, picked an exceptionally violent way to end his 27-year-old marriage in 2009.

"She died soaked in her own blood," Carrion said.

Benzing's lawyer made a brief opening statement, saying he did not believe the prosecution would be able to prove its case. He gave little hint of his own strategy.

At various times, Benzing has reportedly said he and his wife had a suicide pact, that he was temporarily insane and that she was killed by a motorcycle gang.

San Antonio Police Detective Randy Jones, who headed the investigation, testified Wednesday that the first officers to arrive at the house had to wear masks because of the smell of cat urine and feces.

Carrion acknowledged Leona Benzing was deteriorating physically and mentally.

"The man that killed her was her partner in life who got tired of taking care of her," she said.

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