Arlington man found guilty of capital murder in triple homicide

Posted Saturday, Apr. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH -- A 12-year-old boy testified Thursday that he saw Dalton James Bennett Jr. walk out of a bedroom moments after shots were fired inside the room.

"I saw his gun," the boy said. "It was like close to his head in his hand."

In the bedroom, the boy told jurors, he saw blood pouring from his mother's neck and hand, and from her boyfriend's head. His uncle clasped a bleeding neck wound, and the uncle's wife was slumped in a kneeling position.

On Friday, the jury in state District Judge Scott Wisch's court convicted Bennett of capital murder. Bennett, 47, was automatically sentenced to life in prison without parole. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.

Bennett killed his estranged wife, Sheryl Bennett, the young witness's mother. Also slain were her new boyfriend, Jose Reyes; and her sister-in-law, Tana Todd. Tana Todd's husband, Johnny Todd, who is Sheryl Bennett's brother, survived a neck wound.

Sheryl Bennett, her five children, the Todds and their three children lived at the Rolling Meadows apartment complex in the 3500 block of Wakefield Circle in Arlington.

Dalton Bennett was living at his mother's house in the 1100 block of Georgetown Street.

Prosecutors presented evidence that on the night of June 18, 2011, he ran into the Todds and Sheryl Bennett and her new boyfriend at Rusty's Billiards in Arlington.

Later, about 1:30 a.m., he showed up at the apartment and went to a back bedroom where the couples were drinking, prosecutors said. "Here's your divorce," Dalton Bennett said and fired a .45-caliber handgun several times, according to prosecutors.

Police found him at his mother's house with self-inflicted neck and wrist wounds. He had written a note apologizing and saying that he could not handle the pain anymore, prosecutor Rhett Parham told the jury.

Bennett's attorney Steve Gordon told the jury that his client was guilty of murder but not capital murder. Murder carries a maximum sentence of 99 years, but Bennett could have become eligible for parole. There was no evidence that Bennett intended to kill anyone except his estranged wife, Gordon said.

Prosecutor Sean Colston countered, "Because your heart is broken does not give you a right to a .45-caliber divorce."

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752

Twitter: @mitchmitchel3

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