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Robert Eugene BENNETT





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Mysterious disappearance of his wife - Dismemberment
Number of victims: 1 - 2
Date of murders: 1978 / 1989
Date of arrest: April 6, 1989
Date of birth: 1938
Victims profile: His wife, Floy Jean Bennett, 37 / Larry Duane White, 52
Method of murder: Shooting (.38-caliber pistol)
Location: Oregon/Utah, USA
Status: Pled guilty to second degree in Utah. Sentenced to five years to life in prison

Murder charges filed in mutilation slaying

Autopsy discloses 5 bullet holes in torso

By Brent Israelsen and Ellen Fagg -

Wednesday, May 10, 1989

Second-degree murder charges were filed against Robert Eugene Bennett Wednesday morning in 3rd Circuit Court.

The charges were filed after Salt Lake County deputies discovered a torso and head buried in the yard of the home Bennett rented in South Salt Lake. An autopsy showed five bullet holes in the decapitated, armless torso unearthed in the yard of a former South Salt Lake man.

Bennett had a five-shot, .38-caliber pistol in his possession when he was arrested in Las Vegas April 6.

Sheriff Pete Hayward said the torso, as well as a human head wrapped in plastic that was unearthed from the same property Monday, are believed to be that of Larry Duane White.

Hayward said the head was well-preserved and dental records will be used to identify it.

White, 52, was an unemployed free-lance writer whose severed legs were found outside a grocery store trash bin at 851 E. 45th South in late February.

The victim's arms have not been found. "We dug up the whole countryside. We did not find those," Chief Deputy Sheriff Charles J. Shepherd said Wednesday morning. "There's a possibility they may have been put in a Dumpster like the legs. We don't know."

Shepherd said the body parts were found under concrete slabs under a layer of dirt.

Hayward said deputies also found a hacksaw in a shed on the property at 664 E. King's Lane (2980 South) which is where Robert Eugene Bennett lived from December to February.

Bennett, 51, is being investigated in connection with White's grisly slaying and mutilation. He is in the Salt Lake County Jail awaiting trial on a federal social security fraud indictment.

Since his arrest, Bennett has been questioned numerous times about White's death but has refused to talk.

Sheriff's officials have contacted law enforcement officials in Beaverton, Ore., where Bennett's ex-wife has been missing for 12 years.

After discovering "soft earth" at Bennett's former residence, detectives, with the permission of the property owner, began digging. About 8 p.m. Monday, they found the torso, wrapped in a plastic bag, wedged between a pipe and septic tank about 30 inches underground. Hayward said the torso was clothed only in white shorts. Detectives also unearthed work gloves, a penny and a small neck chain, he said.

Detectives were led to the residence after discovering license plates that were stolen from a neighbor. The license plates were just part of the evidence found over the weekend by Salt Lake County sheriff's detectives in Las Vegas, where Bennett was arrested April 6.

Detectives also found some of White's identification cards, a post office box used by Bennett but registered under White's name and a .38-caliber revolver. The gun will be compared to bullets recovered from the torso, the sheriff said.

Bennett, who is White's last known acquaintance, was being sought for questioning in White's death shortly after a pair of legs, severed at mid-thigh, were found Feb. 22 in a trash bin behind a store at 851 E. 45th South. Articles of clothing found with the legs as well as a scar on one of the legs led detectives to identify the limbs as those of White, who was reported missing by his father two days earlier. The leg bones have been sent to the FBI Crime Lab in Quantico, Va., to compare with the torso.

White, originally of Indiana, was an unemployed writer living with his elderly father in an Avenues apartment.


Bennett faces charge of 2nd-degree murder in slaying of chessmate

By Ellen Fagg -

Thursday, May 11, 1989

Larry Duane White and Robert Eugene Bennett used to play a little chess in the evenings at White's Avenues home.

According to charges filed Wednesday in 3rd Circuit Court, Bennett's last checkmate was the most horrible kind. Bennett, 51, was charged with second-degree murder in the grisly mutilation slaying of White, a free-lance writer.

Salt Lake County sheriff's officials had earlier sought a first-degree murder charge but filed the lesser charges after Medical Examiner Todd Grey determined White's limbs had been amputated after he was shot five times, and that the bullet holes in his torso caused his death.

And in Beaverton, Ore., law enforcement officials are preparing to interview Bennett again in the mysterious disappearance of his wife, Floy Jean Bennett, 37. She disappeared on Feb. 22, 1978. Coincidentally, on that same day 11 years later, White's severed legs were found in a Salt Lake County trash bin.

"We've never ever had any substantial information which linked Mr. Bennett to his wife's disappearance," said Beaverton police officer Mark Hyde. "With Mr. Bennett's arrest with this charge in Salt Lake City, it certainly sheds a bright light on our investigation up here."

Evidence found over the weekend in a Las Vegas boarding room Bennett lived in before his arrest April 6 led detectives to a former residence in South Salt Lake.

Detectives started digging outside the home at 664 E. Kings Lane (2980 South) in a patch of soft earth. On Monday evening they uncovered a man's armless torso, filled with five bullet wounds. The decapitated body was clothed only in white shorts, wrapped in a plastic bag and wedged between a pipe and septic tank about 30 inches underground. Officials unearthed a man's head on Tuesday morning, also wrapped in plastic.

Bennett had lived in the house from December to February.

For law enforcement officials, White's reported disappearance became a the trash bin outside a Salt Lake County supermarket on Feb. 22.

"When we started, all we had was a set of legs with different socks," said Chief Deputy Sheriff Charles J. Shepherd. "If we hadn't found the legs it would have been just a city case, classified as a missing person."

Sheriff N.D. "Pete" Hayward praised the detectives, saying it was good, old-fashioned police work that led to Wednesday's complaint.

"It was a tough case. They did a good job. They just wouldn't let loose of any little piece of evidence they got. It goes back again to the basics."

Hayward said some of White's identification was found in Bennett's possession, and assuming his identity could be a possible motive behind White's slaying.

Bennett, 51, was in the Salt Lake County Jail awaiting trial on a federal Social Security fraud indictment when he was charged with White's murder.



MO: Wife killed in Oregon; male victim dismembered in Utah.

DISPOSITION: Pled guilty to second degree in Utah; five years to life.



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