Friday, January 31, 2014

Feb. 26 preliminary hearing set for accused killers of Carthage man

The preliminary hearing for the couple accused of murdering Raymond Ritchhart, 87, Carthage, has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26 in Jasper County Circuit Court.

Brian Benefiel, 48, and his wife Kelli, 27, are charged with first degree murder, first degree burglary, and armed criminal action, and are being held on $500,000 bond.

The Benefiels, who were neighbors of Ritchhart, were allegedly surprised by him while they were burglarizing his home at 1237 Douglas Court looking for prescription drugs. Police say they beat and stabbed Ritchhart to death.

Jasper County online records show Brian Benefiel pleaded guilty to a theft charge in 2008 and was placed on probation, which he violated when he was arrested for receiving stolen property the following year. He was again placed on supervised probation.
Benefiel pleaded guilty to a DWI charge in 2011 and was again place on probation.

Kelli Benefiel pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge in 2011.

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