Whether or not a retired Major League baseball player’s estranged wife will be granted bond under conditions set by her attorney is now in the hands of Cobb Superior Court Judge Tain Kell.
Anna Benson, 37, is accused of entering Kris Benson’s house on Drewsbury Court in Smyrna just after 10 p.m. on July 7 wearing a bulletproof vest, while armed with a baton, handgun, extra ammunition and a double-edged knife. Once inside, she allegedly threatened to beat him and asked for $30,000.
Kris Benson, a former Sprayberry High School pitcher, retired from baseball in 2010. He filed for divorce from Anna Benson last year, and police reports indicate that she became upset after a Forsyth County court order forced her to vacate the couple’s marital home.
At the time of the incident in July, Kris Benson was living in a fairly modest home on Drewsbury Court that he rents from owner Stephen Mensch, according to records filed with the Cobb County Tax Assessor’s Office, which values the home at $352,240. According to jail records, Anna Benson was living at the nearby Walton Grove Apartments off Cumberland Boulevard in Smyrna at the time of her arrest.
Benson was initially charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a weapon and one count each of criminal trespass and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. But on Thursday morning the Cobb grand jury was presented with an indictment including two extra charges.
The indictment also accuses Anna Benson of criminal attempt to commit armed robbery and first-degree burglary.
Is Benson fit for release on bond?
At Thursday’s hearing, Anna Benson’s court-appointed attorney, Rick Christian, requested a bond for his client that included conditions.
The former model, who was wearing a navy jail jumpsuit, sat quietly next to her attorney throughout the 30-minute hearing.
Christian asked that Benson be able to post a $50,000 bond, be fitted with an ankle monitor, undergo a psychiatric evaluation, seek treatment from an out-of-state facility for at least 90 days and start that treatment within 24 hours of her release. She would also be banned from Cobb County and placed under 24-hour supervision.
“There would not be absolutely one minute of Mrs. Benson’s day that she would not be accounted for or watched or be under supervision of something,” he said. “Sitting in jail right now, she can’t help me prepare for this case, help provide for her children.”
Christian said potential alimony from her pending divorce from Kris Benson — $400,000 to $1.2 million — would also serve as an incentive for his client to not go astray should she be released on bond. Kris Benson filed for the divorce in Forsyth County.
“Mrs. Benson has a substantial reason to show up for court in Forsyth County,” Christian said. “Should she not appear, she would forfeit that money.”
He also argued that, if released, his client would not be a threat to anyone and that she isn’t likely to commit another felony.
“This was a domestic violence case,” he said. “This was not a case of opportunity. It is not just some random victim. She and her husband got into an argument over money.”
The state’s prosecution team, represented by Cobb Chief Assistant District Attorney Don Geary, didn’t agree with that.
“I think the counsel is putting the horse before the cart,” Geary said in reference to outlining conditions before a bond has even been set.
He then presented evidence that Anna Benson could flee because in 1996 she was accused of murder in Tennessee and disappeared for almost half a year.
“She fled,” Geary said. “She was gone for five months. She was found with her hair dyed even a different color in Portland, Ore. That is a concern if she walks out that door.”
Those charges were later dismissed, Christian said.
Geary requested that a psychiatric evaluation be conducted before Benson’s released.
“We cannot give her a bond, it’s premature,” he said. “Let’s do what we normally do when we’re worried about this. There is a danger to people here and we need to know what that is before the court grants a bond of any type.”
Christian didn’t agree with Geary’s plea and called it “disingenuous” on the part of the state, but Judge Kell said that he would take the defense attorney’s and prosecutor’s requests under advisement.
He will make a ruling at a later date and asked for a copy of the indictment and information about the out-of-state facility to which Christian was considering sending his client for an estimated 90 days if she was granted bond.
After the hearing, Christian said he didn’t know exactly where his client would seek treatment or where the money would come from, but said that he requested an out-of-state facility so there was a guarantee that Benson wouldn’t be in contact with her soon-to-be-ex-husband.
A little history
Kris Benson last played in the majors with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010, and has a career win-loss record of 70-75 with an ERA of 4.42.
He also played with the New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers.
The couple married in 1999 and had three children together.
Anna Benson filed for divorce in 2006, but later withdrew the petition. She reportedly met Kris Benson 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.
Kris Benson could not be reached by phone, but in an interview with the New York Post, his mother, Laurie, said “He’s going to be out of pocket for awhile. He’s overwhelmed.”