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Father, 75, charged in death

by Sandra Faye Douthit - Reporter
| January 10, 2012 1:41 PM

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James Bonifas

He calls to report her death; police find fatal bullet wound

In an initial court appearance Monday, James Louis Bonifas, 75, will be held without bond in the Lincoln County Jail for allegedly killing his daughter Friday.

At approximately 9 a.m., Jan. 6, Bonifas called Troy Area Dispatch and said his daughter, Suzanne Campbell, 41, had passed away sometime during the night.

According to court records, Bonifas made the original call to authorities and claimed his daughter was not breathing.

Dispatch forwarded the call to the Lincoln County Dispatch because Bonifas’ residence, located at 3377 Old Highway 2 in Troy, was beyond the city limits.

Troy Volunteer Ambulance was dispatched to the scene of the unattended death. After their arrival, ambulance attendants notified Lincoln County Officials the decedent had been shot in the head,   

Detectives realized the unattended death might now be a possible suicide. Records indicate a prior case report where Bonifas called the authorities to file a complaint, accusing his daughter’s 14-year-old son of stealing his Government Bonds.

However, the reports do not indicate the dates and/or final outcome of the complaint.

Officials arrived at the residence and were greeted by the ambulance attendants before entering the home.

Bonifas reportedly stood in the kitchen of the home as detectives entered the room, demonstrating no signs of emotion. Not sure of what Bonifas meant initially — Detectives paraphrased something uttered to them by Bonifas.

“You probably don’t want to,” Bonifas said as he extended his hand toward them.

Detectives were lead to a bedroom where an adult female was seated on a bed, seemingly unresponsive. The ambulance attendants began hooking the female to medical equipment. Bonifas entered the room and told them to stop because the female had been shot in the head.

The attendants told detectives Bonifas had secured the gun in another room, they told officials Bonifas told them he had shot her in the head.

Immediately detectives exited the room to question Bonifas about the weapon. The weapon was secured in a desk.

Officials asked Bonifas what happened, he told them he and his daughter had been discussing who should be cashing his checks. According to court records, detectives asked Bonifas if his daughter had committed suicide.

“No, I shot her,” Bonifas said.

Campbell was pronounced dead at the scene. Bonifas has been charged with deliberate homicide, he faces a fine for as much as $50,000 and could face a life sentence in prison.

A preliminary hearing has been set at 9:30 a.m., Friday Jan. 27. Bonifas will be defended by a public attorney.