Ohio man accused of killing wife with banjos

WEST MILTON, OHIO — WEST MILTON, Ohio -- A 63-year-old man bludgeoned his wife to death yesterday morning with a pair of banjos, deputies said.

"I've been an officer for 30 years, and that's the first banjo killing I've seen," said Miami County Chief Deputy Charles Price. "It's just kind of bizarre."


Edward Benson has been charged with aggravated murder and was being held in the Miami County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bond. Mr. Price said Mr. Benson beat his wife, Katie, with the musical instruments in their home about 5 a.m.

"She was beaten with a banjo in the head. When it was destroyed, a second banjo was used," Mr. Price said. "Pretty gruesome."


The woman died en route to Stouder Memorial Hospital in Troy. She suffered massive head injuries, Mr. Price said.

Authorities aren't sure what led to the beating. Mr. Price said deputies hadn't had any other domestic violence complaints at the home in recent years.

Deputies were dispatched to the scene at 5:01 a.m. after Mr. Benson phoned 911, saying his wife was in need of paramedics. Mr.Benson also immediately called an attorney, who arrived at the scene and advised him not to answer investigators' questions.

Neighbors said they didn't hear any disturbances from the home yesterday. They were awakened by deputies.

Ralph Wolfe, whose house is in front of the Bensons', said Mr. Benson had told him he played the banjo in a bluegrass band.

The Bensons had seven adult children and many grandchildren. They lived alone.

Mr. Benson had medical problems that prevented him from working, deputies and neighbors said.