Sunday, December 05, 2021

Eureka man charged for allegedly attacking father with a knife

Editor | November 19, 2021 7:00 AM

Authorities have charged a Eureka man with assault with a weapon and partner or family member assault after he allegedly ran a knife along his father’s neck in May.

Brian Benedict, 43, pleaded not guilty to both the felony and misdemeanor charge at his Nov. 15 arraignment in Lincoln County District Court. He is expected back in court Jan. 31 for an omnibus hearing with a pretrial conference set for Feb. 28. A tentative trial date has been set for April 12.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Benedict on May 10 after arriving at the scene of a reported family dispute near Eureka. In an affidavit, Deputy Clint Heintz recalled finding three men at the scene about 12:42 p.m.

According to court documents, one of the men had phoned in the dispute, telling dispatchers that the disagreement had grown physical, though without the involvement of weapons. The individual had stayed at the scene to keep the fight from flaring up again.

Heintz spoke first with the victim, who identified himself as his assailant’s father. He had suffered a cut on the bridge of his noise as well as abrasions on the elbows and forearms. Heintz described the man’s face as “puffy.”

The man initially declined to share much information about the incident.

“I asked what happened today and he stated he did not want to take the situation any further than his son assaulted him,” Heintz wrote. “[The victim] was not going into much detail about what happened, he just wanted his son to go away for the night and get treatment.”

Later, though, Benedict’s father agreed to describe the incident. According to court documents, Benedict approached him and leaned in for a hug, telling him, “I love you and I forgive you.” As they embraced, Benedict allegedly ran a knife across his father’s neck. The two men ended up on the ground and the victim managed to recover the knife, tossing it away.

Then they began punching each other, court documents said.

Heintz inspected the victim’s neck and saw a small red mark, though he wrote in the affidavit that it resembled an ingrown hair.

The victim told Heintz that his son suffered from mental health problems stemming from a traumatic brain injury several years prior.

Heintz’s interview with Benedict was much more direct. The younger man allegedly told authorities that he saw an opportunity to kill his father.

“With a knife, I was going to give him a hug, tell him I loved him, and step around him and cut his throat with knife,” Benedict told Heintz, according to the affidavit.

He described the knife as lightweight and manufactured by Gerber.

When Heintz asked about the traumatic brain injury, Benedict confirmed the diagnosis. He allegedly told the deputy that he had disregarded a doctor’s recommendation to go on medication.

Following the conversations, Heintz searched Benedict for any additional weapons and arrested him. Like his father, Benedict had suffered injuries to his face, Heintz noted in the affidavit.

A search of Benedict’s background came back clean, Heintz wrote. He took Benedict to the Lincoln County Detention Center soon after.

Assault with a weapon is punishable by up to 20 years with the Montana State Prison and a $50,000 fine. Misdemeanor partner or family member assault carries a sentence of between 24 hours and one year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine.