Benson pleads guilty to assaulting retired MLB player
by Nikki Wiley
November 05, 2013 03:23 PM | 5887 views | 1 1 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Defendant Anna Benson whispers to her attorney Ashleigh Merchant Tuesday morning before Superior Court Judge LaTain Kell before pleading guilty to charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Benson received 15 years’ probation and was agreed to enter into a counseling program to address her post traumatic stress issues. (Staff/Kelly J./ Huff)
Defendant Anna Benson whispers to her attorney Ashleigh Merchant Tuesday morning before Superior Court Judge LaTain Kell before pleading guilty to charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Benson received 15 years’ probation and was agreed to enter into a counseling program to address her post traumatic stress issues. (Staff/Kelly J./ Huff)
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Defendant Anna Benson enters the courtroom Tuesday morning before Superior Court Judge Tain Kell before pleading guilty to charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Benson received 15 years’ probation and was agreed to enter into a counseling program to address her post traumatic stress issues. Staff/Kelly J./ Huff
Defendant Anna Benson enters the courtroom Tuesday morning before Superior Court Judge Tain Kell before pleading guilty to charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Benson received 15 years’ probation and was agreed to enter into a counseling program to address her post traumatic stress issues. Staff/Kelly J./ Huff
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MARIETTA — The estranged wife of a retired Major League baseball pitcher who once starred at Sprayberry High School pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated assault stemming from a July attack on her husband in his Smyrna home.

Former model Anna Benson, 37, will enter a substance abuse and psychiatric treatment program at an out-of-state institution and serve 15 years of probation for the attack on her husband, Kris Benson. She had entered their home wielding a baton, a handgun, extra ammunition and a double-edged knife while wearing a bulletproof vest.

Once inside the home on Drewsbury Court, she was accused of threatening to beat her husband, Kris Benson, and demanded he give her $30,000. Kris Benson accused his wife of trying to smash his computer while storming through the house.

Kris Benson, the former Sprayberry High School pitcher who retired from the majors in 2010, was not harmed and no shots were fired in the incident. He was not present at Tuesday’s hearing.

Donning black-rimmed glasses adorned with rhinestones, a long braid, shackles and a jail jumpsuit, Anna Benson sighed loudly, titled her head and said “Yes” when Cobb County Superior Court Judge C. LaTain Kell asked if she was guilty of the crime.

Burglary, criminal attempt to commit a felony and additional aggravated assault charges were dropped under the negotiated plea.

Anna Benson’s court appearance was originally scheduled as a bond hearing.

Her husband is “not overly excited about the offer,” said Chief Assistant District Attorney Don Geary, but “has never expressed anger, hatred or ill will toward the defendant, and is only concerned for his family’s safety.”

Under the terms of her probation, Anna Benson cannot come within 500 yards of her husband. The first five years of her 15-year probation will be supervised. After that, she will complete five years of unsupervised probation.

If she complies with the terms of her probation, the last five years will be suspended Geary said.

Anna Benson can have no contact with her husband or their four children until she has completed 90 days of in-patient mental health treatment.

After she finishes the in-patient program, she will complete a 180-day out-patient program.

Geary said Kris Benson is not “unsympathetic” to Anna Benson’s desire to see her children. She will be allowed supervised visits until a divorce, now pending in Forsyth County, is finalized and custody arrangements are worked out.

A history of erratic behavior

Anna Benson has “major” post-traumatic stress disorder issues, said Ashleigh Merchant, defense attorney hired as private counsel, following the murder of her boyfriend in Tennessee in the 1990s.

Merchant said Anna Benson witnessed the murder. When she was implicated in the murder, she fled to Oregon for five months. That case was the basis for Judge Kell to deny her bond in early August, calling her a flight risk.

Assistant District Attorney Jaret Usher told Kell that Anna Benson has a history of unpredictable behavior.

In 2009, Anna Benson’s daughter said her mom pointed a gun at her and tried to scare her, Usher said. In 2012, the state of California issued a temporary protective order “due to threats of violence” against a friend, Usher said.

Fifteen days before the attack on her husband, Anna Benson’s son called Smyrna police and said she was acting erratically in the parking lot of a gas station and waving a gun.

A ‘tumultuous’ relationship

Merchant, Anna Benson’s defense attorney, called the couple’s relationship “tumultuous.” Anna Benson did not go to the home to commit a crime, but was upset because she thought she found steroids in the house, Merchant said, and believed her husband had cheated on her with her best friend.

Kris Benson filed for divorce from Anna Benson last year, and police reports indicate she became upset after a Forsyth County court order forced her to vacate the couple’s marital home.

Kris Benson last played in the majors with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010. He also played with the New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers.

She reportedly met Kris Benson while working as a dancer at an Atlanta strip club, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

Her modeling career reportedly has included a topless spread in Penthouse magazine and racy cover shots for FHM magazine.

The case has attracted national and international attention.

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Bad decisions
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November 05, 2013
Wow. Kris Benson made a horrible decision in marrying a striper in the first place. Her behavior over the years in a clear indication that she will kill someone some day. I can't believe a judge would not put her in jail and protect her children. Kris needs to move as far away as possible!
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