Former Gladstone police officer sentenced to life in prison for murdering wife

Lynn Benton in court Friday. (KPTV)

A Gladstone ex-police officer found guilty of killing his estranged wife was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

A jury found 54-year-old Lynn Benton guilty of all eight counts against him Friday, including charges of aggravated murder and criminal conspiracy.

Benton’s wife, Debbie Higbee-Benton was found dead in her hair salon in May 2011.

Benton and Higbee-Benton had been married for several years before Benton transitioned from a woman to a man, which lead to problems in their marriage and eventually separation.

Prosecutors argued that Benton was abusive and hired two people to kill his wife in order to prevent her from filing domestic violence charges that could end his law enforcement career.

According to prosecutors, Benton hired Susan Campbell and her son Jason Jaynes to murder Higbee-Benton.

Campbell had pleaded guilty to aggravated attempted murder charges in 2012 as part of a plea deal, but a judge vacated that plea in September

Jaynes is currently in prison on a 15-year sentence on charges stemming from sex crimes involving underage girls. He is set to stand trial in 2017.

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