Mom of Gladstone woman killed in 2011 seeks $900K from suspect - KPTV - FOX 12

Mother of Gladstone woman killed in 2011 seeks $900K from murder suspect

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Debbie Higbee-Benton Debbie Higbee-Benton
Lynn Benton Lynn Benton
Jason Jaynes Jason Jaynes
Susan Campbell Susan Campbell

The mother of a Gladstone hair salon owner killed in 2011 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the man accused of murdering her daughter.

Irene Berg, 70, is seeking $900,000 in damages from Lynn Benton in the suit filed Tuesday. Berg lives in Walnut Creek, CA.

Benton, a former Gladstone police sergeant, is accused of plotting for more than a year to have Debbie Higbee-Benton killed. Benton underwent a sex change procedure and now lives as a man.

Higbee-Benton was found dead at the Gladstone Beauty Salon in May 2011.

Detectives said Benton offered Susan Campbell $2,000 to carry out a murder-for-hire plot. Campbell, originally charged with murder, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of attempted aggravated murder in November 2012 as part of a plea deal.

Her sentencing is scheduled for November.

Her son, Jason Jaynes, was also implicated in the case. After first being charged with attempted aggravated murder and criminal conspiracy, he was arraigned on new charges of aggravated murder earlier this month.

Prosecutors said new evidence came to light leading them to believe he was an active participant in the crime.

Jaynes was found guilty in a separate case in April on charges including rape, sex abuse and using a child in a sex display.

Both Benton and Jaynes are scheduled to face trial in February 2015.

The lawsuit against Benton filed by Higbee-Benton's mother alleges his actions have caused "extreme mental and physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress."

Berg's lawyer talked to FOX 12 about the lawsuit.

"She's looking for justice for her daughter," Carol Hepburn said. "Certainly, we hope there is some measure of justice that comes from the criminal case, as well. But also she wants her daughter's story to be heard in a way that lets people know what a good person Deborah was and what a support she was to her mother and how sorely she's missed."

The lawsuit is seeking a jury trial.

Copyright 2014 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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