Prosecutors have spent the last four weeks laying out their case to jurors in the aggravated murder trial for Lynn Benton, the former Gladstone Police sergeant accused in a murder-for-hire plot to kill his own wife.
The defense case may not last three full days.
Benton is charged with hiring a friend, Susan Campbell, and her son, Jason Jaynes, to kill his estranged wife, Debbie Higbee-Benton.
Higbee-Benton was found shot, strangled and beaten inside her Gladstone Beauty Salon in May 2011.
Friday, Benton’s defense lawyers started calling witnesses after the state rested its case. The jury was not brought in on Monday as the judge heard motions in the case. Tuesday marked the first full day of testimony for the defense which was largely focused on discrediting Travis Layman.
Layman is an inmate who met Benton in jail. According to prosecutors, Benton confessed his role in the murder to Layman. But defense lawyers argued that Layman’s testimony isn’t reliable.
Tuesday afternoon, another inmate testified that Layman’s story is full of lies and that he “fabricated every word.”
Defense lawyers may plan to call Layman back to the stand himself when proceedings resume Thursday.
Then, closing arguments will be given on both sides before the case is in the hands of the jury.
Lynn Benton is not expected to be called as a witness in his own defense.
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