Trial reset for accused murderer of elderly woman

Published 8:29 am Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The trial of a Carter County man accused of raping and murdering an 89-year-old woman was postponed Thursday by Criminal Court Judge Lisa Rice until July 27, 2020.

Chad Anthony Benfield is charged with two counts of felony murder because his elderly victim, Mary Nolen, died from her injuries during a beating she received while Benfield was alleged to have perpetuated burglary and rape. The indictments say the offenses occurred in the victim’s home located in the Stoney Creek community sometime in July 2017. The state has filed a motion to seek the death penalty.

According to Assistant District Attorney Matthew Roark, the delay was at the request of defense attorneys James Bowman and Chris Byrd who were assigned to represent Benfield in March. The trial was originally set to begin in January of next year, but the defense claims they need more time to adequately prepare.

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Jury selection in the case will begin June 1-4.

Benfield’s attorneys have also filed a motion to challenge the constitutionality of the death penalty. A hearing on this motion is scheduled for September 12.

Benfield is currently being held in lieu of $500,000 bond in the Carter County Jail.