published Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Ted Bundy devotee's charges sent to grand jury

A 23-year-old former Lee University student who told police he wanted to imitate notorious serial killer Ted Bundy will now face a grand jury on charges that he beat a prostitute with a hammer.

Tyler Benson's assault and patronizing prostitution charges were sent to the Hamilton County grand jury today by Sessions Court Judge Christie Mahn Sell.

Benson waived his right to a preliminary hearing, allowing the charges to be sent directly to the grand jury.

Benson told police earlier this month that he "enjoyed the power he felt while committing the ... offenses," according a Chattanooga police arrest report.

The report said Benson had driven around the Highland Park area in a red Chevrolet sport utility vehicle and admitted to picking up prostitutes and trying to trick them into free sex.

Early on the morning of June 4, Benson picked up a 39-year-old prostitute on South Willow Street and drove her to East 23rd Street, the report said.

When the woman began to fight back against Benson, he began hitting her in the head with a hammer, according to court documents.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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