LaShawn King Found Guilty On 4 Charges
A Casper man is facing the possibility of life in prison after he was found guilty on 4 charges, in which prosecutors say he beat and tried to kill his ex-girlfriend.
On Thursday night March first, a jury found thirty-two year old LaShawn King, guilty of first degree attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and aggravated assault.
Prosecutors say on May 6th, 2011, King contacted his ex-girlfriend Melissa Benson, saying he had purchased a bus ticket to Detroit and leaving town the next day, but he wanted to spend one more night with her and go to the movies.
The 2 had ended what Benson described a 3-year abusive relationship, because King was suspecting that she was messing around with other guys.
Benson testified that she agreed and the two went to the Studio City movie theater, but when she tried to get out of her car, King grabbed her from behind and started hitting her with a hammer, and threatened to kill her.
Benson suffered multiple injuries to her face and hand, and ended up with a fractured skull.
A doctor testified that the size of Benson's injuries were about the same size of the area of the hammer that she was hit with.
King then forced Benson to the back of her mini-van, while he drove the vehicle around Casper.
Benson had a cell phone on her and used it to call 911, although there was no direct conversation between her and the 911 dispatcher.
She said that eventually, King figured out what was going on and took the cell phone from her.
Casper Police eventually found the 2, about one and one-half hours later.
Officers on scene told the jurors that Benson's left eye was swelled shut and that her blood was all over her and in various areas inside the mini-van.
In their closing argument, prosecutors said it was a sad reality of being caught red handed, as Benson's blood was also on King's hands, shirt and body.
A Casper bus ticket agent told investigators that there was no bus ticket to Detroit purchased in the days and weeks before the attack, nor was any ticket sold to King.
The defense argued that there was a lot of reasonable doubt in the case, for there were no eye-witnesses to the attack, other than Benson herself and there was no evidence at the scene were the hammer attack took place.
The defense also said there was too much assumption on the part of investigators, as the hammer was not tested for DNA, and the investigation was done with a pre-determined outcome.
Benson was accused by the defense of editing a recorded phone conversation with King some time before the attack...a conversation where King threatened Benson multiple times, that he was going to kill her.
An out-of-state audio expert says there were two times in the conversation that there was a significant increase in the amount of background noise, which would suggest editing was done.
However, the prosecution called its own audio expert, who conducted his own tests with the same model phone, and testified that the change in background noise was when the speaker mode on the phone, was switched on and off.
King is being held at the Natrona County Detention Center, and will be sentenced at a later date.