Former cop charged in hairdresser's murder

Former cop charged in hairdresser's murder

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by KGW.com Staff and Associated Press

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 8, 2012 at 12:56 PM

OREGON CITY, Ore. -- A former Gladstone police sergeant has been arrested for murder in connection with the death of his wife in her Gladstone beauty salon last year, police said.

U.S. Marshals and investigators arrested 50-year-old Lynn Edward Benton (pictured, top right) in Portland Wednesday for the 2011 murder of Debbie Lee Higbee-Benton (pictured, top left), according to Lt. Jim Band of the Oregon City Police Dept.

The Clackamas County Major Crimes Team had been investigating the murder since Higbee-Benton was found dead in her salon May 28, 2011. An autopsy showed she was shot, beaten and strangled.

A warrant was issued for Lynn Benton's arrest on November 2.

Police told KGW the former sergeant is now a Greyhound bus driver and was on his way to work when he was taken into custody Wednesday.

Last year, he allegedly hired 54-year-old Susan Campbell to kill Higbee-Benton. Campbell confessed to the murder, according to court documents, and said Benton offered her $2,000 to commit the crime.

Benton was charged with one count each of of aggravated murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, and was jailed in Clackamas County. A charge of aggravated murder carries with it the possibility of the death penalty.

Gladstone Police Chief Jim Pryde told KGW that Higbee-Benton's family deserves the closure that this arrest brought.

"I'm pleased for Debbie Higbee’s family that an arrest has been made," he said. "This is a case that needs to be prosecuted."

Benton's Oregon driver's license lists his gender as male. Lynn was born as a woman and later underwent a sex change. In past court documents, Benton has been referred to as both "she" and "he" and Higbee-Benton was described as his estranged wife.

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KGW Reporter Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report

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