A Nicholson Township man shot and killed his wife, then turned the gun on himself, an autopsy found Monday.
State troopers checked on Kevin J. Benedict, 56, and his wife, Debra Lynn Benedict, 57, Friday after the couple didn’t show up for work. Troopers activated their major case team upon finding the pair in their 1667 Route 11 home, state police at Tunkhannock said.
Authorities found the couple dead in their bed, Wyoming County Chief Deputy Coroner Eric Kukuchka said.
The husband shot his wife with a .22-caliber rifle, with each person suffering one gunshot wound, District Attorney Jeff Mitchell said, adding it is “too speculative” to say what might have sparked the latest violent incident.
“It’s absolutely tragic,” Mitchell said. “I don’t have any words other than that. Domestic violence is all too common in our communities and sometimes results in something like this.”
The couple has a troubled history. Kevin Benedict was arrested in 2002 after a 15-hour standoff with police, which ended when troopers fired tear gas into his home.
Police reports at the time described the incident escalating from Kevin Benedict arguing with his wife to fetching a baseball bat from the garage, smashing his son’s video game console, calling him names and trashing his room.
When Debra Benedict threatened to leave, her husband pulled out a black pistol, pointed it at her head and fired — missing her and hitting the living room wall, the criminal complaint said. She climbed out the bathroom window, ran to a neighbor’s house and called the police.
Police charged Kevin Benedict with attempted criminal homicide, aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person in March 2002. In May, he violated a protection from abuse order, but the court declined to sanction him further.
He was eventually sentenced to serve 24 to 72 months in state prison but was given credit for more than eight months of confinement prior to sentencing.
“I was told by police that she left him for a few years after that, but went back to him,” Mitchell said.
Debra Benedict worked for Times Shamrock Communications in the mailroom at the Waverly facility from April 29, 1994, to Feb. 15, 2003. Co-workers took up a collection for her after her husband was arrested.
Debra Benedict went back to school in 2014, earning an associate’s degree in business administration from Lackawanna College in May 2016, college spokesman Chris Hughes said.
Then she opened Debble’s Benedict Tanning & Sauna in Nicholson Twp. in August 2016, according to her LinkedIn profile.