Hutcheson shooter pleads guilty in slayings, sentenced to life in prison

Hutcheson shooter pleads guilty in slayings, sentenced to life in prison

May 17th, 2012 by Joy Lukachick Smith in Local Regional News

James Benson

Photo by WRCB-TV Channel 3 /Times Free Press.

A Chattanooga man accused of killing his estranged wife and her mother in a waiting room at Hutcheson at Erlanger hospital in January pleaded guilty today to two counts of malice murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

James Benson, 59, admitted to killing Mary Sue Benson, 56, and Charlotte Johnson, 77, on Jan. 6 with a .38-caliber revolver in Hutcheson's intensive care unit's waiting room.

He entered his plea and was sentenced in Walker County Superior Court by Judge Ralph Van Pelt, who said Benson could be considered for parole after serving 30 years behind bars.

After the shooting, Benson turned himself in at the nearby Fort Oglethorpe police station.

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