Steven Benson (murderer)

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Steven Benson
Steve benson.jpg
DOC Mugshot
Born (1951-07-26)July 26, 1951
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Died July 3, 2015(2015-07-03) (aged 63)
Perry, Florida
Criminal penalty Two life sentences
Criminal status Deceased
Nancy Ferguson
(m. 1972; div. 1979)

Debra Franks Larsen Benson
(m. 1980; div. 1993)
Children 3
Parent(s) Margaret Benson (Deceased)
Edward Benson (Deceased)
Conviction(s) First degree murder, attempted first degree murder, arson of a dwelling
Victims 3
Date July 9, 1985
Between 9:17 and 9:20 a.m.
Country United States
State(s) Florida
Location(s) Quail Creek, Naples
Target(s) Margaret Benson (mother)
Killed 2
Injured Carol Lynn Benson Kendall
Weapons Pipe bombs
Date apprehended
August 22, 1985
Imprisoned at Taylor Correctional Institution

Steven Wayne Benson[1] (July 26, 1951 – July 3, 2015) was an American convicted double murderer of his mother, tobacco heiress Margaret Benson; and his brother (actually his nephew but later adopted), tennis player Scott Benson.[2] (Margaret Hitchcock Benson was heiress of the Lancaster Leaf Tobacco Co., Lancaster, Pa., and had no connection with Benson & Hedges brand cigarettes manufactured in the US by Philip Morris.) He was born in 1951 in Baltimore.[3]

On July 9, 1985 Benson placed a car bomb on the family car, in which Margaret, Scott, and Steven's sister, Carol Lynn Benson Kendall (a former Miss Florida runner-up), were waiting for Benson to join them in the vehicle when the Chevrolet Suburban exploded.[4] Kendall survived but was badly burned; Margaret and Scott died instantly from the bomb impact. Represented by attorney Michael McDonnell, Steven Benson was ultimately convicted of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, arson of a dwelling.[5] He avoided the death penalty, and was sentenced to two life terms in prison.[6][7] Over the course of his sentence, Benson was transferred to various prisons because of constant threats and abuse from other inmates.[8]

Benson died at Taylor Correctional Institution in Perry, Florida of a stab wound to the head with a homemade knife on July 3, 2015.[9][10] [11]

In media[edit]

Dominick Dunne's investigative crime show Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege, and Justice devoted an hour for the case of Steven Benson.[12] Benson is also featured in an episode of the New Detectives entitled "Short Fuse" (Season 2, Episode 3). In addition, the Benson Family murder case was the subject of The Serpent's Tooth (Harper & Row, 1987), a book by No.1 New York Times best-selling author Christopher Andersen.


  1. ^ "Inmate Population Information Detail - Steven Benson". Florida Department of Corrections. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
  2. ^ "Crimes of the Riches". The New York Times. September 13, 1987.
  3. ^ Aten, Tim. "In the Know: Is that Benson guy still in prison? » Naples Daily News". Archived from the original on February 12, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  4. ^ "Car Bomb Victim Was Son, Not Brother, Heiress Says". latimes. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  5. ^ "`Heated Discussions` By Slain Heiress Told". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Anniversary recalls notorious crime". Marco Eagle. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  7. ^ "Benson Guilty Of Murders `He Doesn'T Believe It,' Lawyer Says". Retrieved 2013-10-23.
  8. ^ "Anniversary recalls notorious crime » Marco Eagle". Archived from the original on March 26, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
  9. ^ "Naples killer Steven Benson who sought $10 million family fortune dies in jail with $30 to his name". NPDN. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Man who blew up his tobacco heiress mother and brother dies in Florida prison". LancasterOnline. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  11. ^ "Steven Benson died of a stab wound to the head in Florida jail". Retrieved 2016-04-04.
  12. ^ "Court TV to air Benson story tonight". Retrieved 2013-10-23.