Former Ballet Dancer Arrested for Allegedly Killing Estranged Husband
A former ballet dancer was arrested last week in Florida for allegedly killing her estranged husband in September.
“Ashley Benefield, 28, was charged with second-degree murder in the Sept. 27 shooting death of 58-year-old Doug Benefield,” the Post and Courierreported.
The couple were separated and fighting a custody battle involving their daughter, authorities said.
Benefield lived with her mother in the Central Park neighborhood of Bradenton, while her husband lived at a different address.
“He was visiting Ashley when, during the course of a domestic argument, the shooting occurred,” the Courier article stated.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office detailed the events in a press release following the suspect’s arrest:
In the course of the investigation detectives determined Ashley shot Doug, during what she had described as a domestic argument. However, detectives found no evidence that she was acting in self-defense when she fired multiple shots at her husband. She claimed he was attacking her, but detectives found no signs that she had been physically abused.
“Detectives spent weeks reviewing the case and developed probable cause to issue a Second Degree Murder warrant for Ashley Benefield’s arrest. Her attorneys were notified and she turned herself in at the Manatee County Jail last night,” the release said.
Benefield allegedly fired the .45-caliber handgun four times, hitting her husband twice, while two bullets were discovered lodged in a wall, according to the New York Post.
Court documents said that based on where the victim was hit, “it does not appear that he was facing Ashley when she began shooting.”
Doug was still alive when authorities arrived at the scene but had a bullet in his leg and another in his chest. However, he died after being taken to the hospital, the Post report continued.
“Court records show the dancer began to file domestic violence reports against Doug about two years ago, soon after she realized she was pregnant,” the article read.
But it appeared “the main focus of these complaints was to keep the child away from Douglas,” according to an affidavit.
Benefield is being held in the Manatee County Jail and the investigation is ongoing, ABC 4 reported.