Third and final suspect sentenced in murder-for-hire plot of Gla - KPTV - FOX 12

Third and final suspect sentenced in murder-for-hire plot of Gladstone woman

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Jail booking photos, from left, of Lynn Benton, Susan Campbell, Jason Jaynes. Jail booking photos, from left, of Lynn Benton, Susan Campbell, Jason Jaynes.
Debbie Higbee-Benton (Family photo/KPTV) Debbie Higbee-Benton (Family photo/KPTV)

Nearly six years after Debbie Higbee-Benton was killed in her Gladstone hair salon, the three people involved in her murder-for-hire plot have all been sentenced to prison.  

The saga surrounding Higbee-Benton's murder ended Friday when 59-year-old Susan Ellen Campbell pleaded guilty to aggravated murder.

Earlier in the week, her son, 36-year-old Jason Jaynes, pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit Higbee-Benton's murder.

A jury convicted Lynn Benton in October 2016 on charges of aggravated murder and criminal conspiracy for the death of his estranged wife.

Higbee-Benton was found dead in her Gladstone hair salon on May 29, 2011. Prosecutors said she was shot, beaten and strangled.

Benton and Higbee-Benton had been married for years before Benton transitioned from a woman to a man, leading to their estrangement, according to investigators.

Detectives said Benton, a former Gladstone police sergeant, hired the mother-son duo of Campbell and Jaynes to kill Higbee-Benton for $2,000.

Court documents stated they had planned out the murder for more than a year and met at least three times to discuss the plot.  

A tort claim filed against the city of Gladstone claimed Benton, in his position as a police officer, covered up sex crimes committed by Jaynes against a girl in 1999. Prosecutors said the involvement of Jaynes and Campbell in Higbee-Benton's murder was a way or repaying that favor.

Jaynes is already serving a 15-year prison sentence for multiple sex crimes. He was sentenced to 11 years and 8 months in prison in connection with Higbee-Benton's killing.

His mother was sentenced Friday to life in prison with parole possible after 30 years. Campbell had pleaded guilty to aggravated attempted murder charges in this case in 2012, but a judge vacated that plea deal last September.

Benton was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole last October.

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