MURDER INK SEPTEMBER
MURDERS THIS MONTH: 4
MURDERS THIS YEAR: 67
7:40 p.m.UTSA director of publications Elton Smith, 61, was killed by his son Thursday evening at the family's home in the 25400 block of North Saddle Trail in Leon Springs. The victim's wife (and suspect's mother) called police to report that the father and son had been arguing, the son had been drinking, and she had just witnessed the shooting. Elton Smith was pronounced dead at the scene from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. 34-year-old Kristopher Lee Smith, a UTSA student, was charged with murdering his father and assaulting his mother, who he kicked in the stomach. "Intoxicated and incoherent," he attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended. Kristopher was transported to University Hospital for alcohol-related medical treatment and held on a $255,000 bond.p>
3:48 p.m. Police were dispatched to the 12200 block of Maverick Bluff on Thursday in response to a call made by a neighbor who found the body. Upon arrival, officers found 31-year-old Evaristo Sierra on the floor right inside the front door of his residence with an execution-style gunshot wound to his head. Concerned that he was not answering his phone, Sierra's girlfriend asked her sister to check his house where she found the door unlocked, the house ransacked, and the victim's body face down on the floor. When questioned, his neighbors did not report hearing or seeing anything unusual. No arrests have been made, and police do not yet have any leads on possible suspects, but are treating Sierra's death as a homicide.
7:33 p.m. Leona Francis Benzing was murdered by her husband of 27 years, John Philip Benzing, 59, at 16406 Spruce Leaf. The 79-year-old victim received multiple stab wounds to her right side and suffered blunt force trauma to her head. These wounds are assumed to have been inflicted by a butcher knife and hammer, both of which officers removed from the scene. John Benzing called police to report a cutting and when officers arrived, they found Mrs. Benzing laying on a bed with the weapons on a pillow beside her head. Sources stated that the couple had "domestic issues," and police confirmed that they had been called to the couple's home at least a dozen times in the past three years but that the calls had never been substantiated. The couple's house was unkempt, foul-smelling, and home to over 40 cats. John Benzing made unusual, rambling statements to police and press after his arrest, claiming that his wife, who was 20 years his senior, much smaller and described by neighbors as "frail," had abused him for years. He later said they had entered into a suicide pact, and also blamed temporary insanity for the incident, saying he "flipped out, whatever, I don't exactly remember what happened." John Philip Benzing was charged with murder and remains in Bexar County Jail on $250,000 bond.
1:42 a.m. Two calls were made to police from the same area shortly early Thursday morning, one reporting shots fired and the other informing police of a body on the ground outside building 14 of an apartment complex off of Harry Wurzbach Road at the 3400 block of Northeast Parkway. When officers arrived at the scene, they followed a trail of blood in the parking lot and discovered the dead body of a woman who had been shot in the head. The woman is a Jane Doe, estimated to be in her mid-50s. Multiple witnesses gave statements to the police. One reported seeing three suspects drive slowly through the lot, park near the complex office and head toward building 14 on foot. The same witness said he heard a single gunshot and immediately afterward saw the three suspects run from the area where the crime occurred back to their vehicle and drive away in an unknown direction. Police collected evidence from the scene, including white glasses, a silver earring, the victim's car keys, and a small-caliber handgun shell casing, but as of now the suspects remain at large.