How a Pipe Bomb Killer Met His End: Steven Benson’s Cause of Death

Steven Benson was a convicted double murderer who killed his mother and brother with a pipe bomb in 1985. He died in prison in 2015 from a stab wound to the head by another inmate. This is the story of how a greedy son turned into a notorious killer and how he met his violent fate.

The Pipe Bomb Murders

Steven Benson was the son of Margaret Benson, a tobacco heiress who inherited millions from the Lancaster Leaf Tobacco Co. He was also the adoptive brother of Scott Benson, a tennis player who was actually his nephew by blood. Steven lived a lavish lifestyle, spending his mother’s money on cars, boats, and women. He also had a gambling problem and a drug addiction. He was married twice and had three children.

On July 9, 1985, Steven planted two pipe bombs in the family’s Chevrolet Suburban, which was parked outside their home in Naples, Florida. He then asked his mother, brother, and sister, Carol Lynn Benson Kendall, to join him in the car for a trip to the airport. As they were waiting for Steven to get in, the bombs exploded, killing Margaret and Scott instantly and severely injuring Carol. Steven pretended to be shocked and claimed that he had no idea who would want to harm his family.

However, the police soon discovered that Steven had a motive to kill his mother and brother. He was afraid that his mother would cut him off from her fortune, as she had recently discovered his debts and drug use. He also wanted to inherit his brother’s share of the estate, which was worth about $10 million. He had bought the pipe bomb materials from a local store and had left traces of his fingerprints and DNA on them. He was arrested on August 22, 1985 and charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder, and two counts of arson.

The Trial and Conviction

Steven Benson’s trial began in July 1986 and lasted for six weeks. He was represented by attorney Michael McDonnell, who argued that Steven was innocent and that the real killer was a mysterious man who had threatened the family. He also tried to cast doubt on the forensic evidence and the testimony of Carol, who had survived the blast and identified Steven as the bomber. However, the prosecution, led by Jerry Brock, presented a strong case against Steven, showing his motive, opportunity, and means to commit the crime. They also had witnesses who saw Steven buying the pipe bomb materials and placing them in the car.

The jury deliberated for 12 hours and found Steven guilty on all charges. He was spared the death penalty and sentenced to two life terms in prison. He appealed his conviction several times, but was denied each time. He spent the next 29 years in various prisons, where he faced constant threats and abuse from other inmates.

The Prison Stabbing

Steven Benson died on July 3, 2015, at the age of 63, at the Taylor Correctional Institution in Perry, Florida. He was stabbed to death by another inmate, Cordell Washington, who had a long-running feud with him. According to inmates, Washington had planned to extort $1,000 from Steven within days of arriving at the prison. When Steven refused to pay, Washington and another man, identified as Marvin Taylor, ambushed and shanked Steven in the head with a homemade knife. Steven died from a puncture wound to the right temple.

Washington was charged with murder for killing Steven, but was acquitted by a jury in 2018. He claimed that he acted in self-defense, as Steven had threatened him with a razor blade. He also said that he did not know who Steven was or what he had done. He said he only wanted to get some money from him.

Steven Benson’s cause of death was a result of his own violent actions that led him to prison. He killed his mother and brother with a pipe bomb in 1985 for money and greed. He died from a stab wound by another inmate in 2015 for refusing to pay extortion money.