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Bennett pleads guilty to capital murder - KOAM TV 7

Bennett pleads guilty to capital murder

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PARSONS, KANSAS -

12/11/2017: A former Montgomery County man today pleaded guilty to capital murder and three counts of first-degree premeditated murder, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

David Cornell Bennett Jr., 26, formerly of Cherryvale, pleaded guilty to the four counts in Labette County District Court. District Judge Jeff Jack accepted the plea and scheduled sentencing for February 16, 2018, at 10 a.m. in Parsons.

As part of the plea agreement, Schmidt withdrew the state’s notice of intent to seek the death penalty in the case. Under Kansas law, Bennett will receive the only other sentence authorized for capital murder, life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Bennett was charged with the crimes in connection with the November 2013 deaths of Cami Umbarger and her three minor children in Parsons. Bennett pleaded guilty to one count of murder in connection with the death of each of the four victims.

The case was investigated by the Parsons Police Department and Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Assistant Attorney General Jessica Domme, Labette County Attorney Stephen Jones, former Assistant Attorney General Amy Hanley, and the late Assistant Attorneys General Steve Wilhoft and Lee Davidson prosecuted the case.

(Press Release via Office of the Kansas Attorney General)

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4/17/2017: According to court documents, a judge ruled Bennett competent to stand trial. The report of competency was written mid-October while at Larned State Hospital. 

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1/12/2017:  According to court proceedings, David Bennett's jury trial scheduled for 7/10/2017. 

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If David Bennett Jr. is found guilty and sentenced to death for the murder of Cami Umbarger and her three children in Parsons , he will be the 10th Kansas inmate on "death row".

Kansas was the last state to re-instate the death penalty in the modern era, and has not executed an inmate since 1965.

Citizens reporter Tim Spears talked to in Parsons are overwhelmingly in favor of the death penalty in Bennett's case. Primarily due to the involvement of children. 

"Those kids were innocent," resident Paul Wallace said. "They didn't have an idea even if they were in bad surroundings. They didn't deserve to be killed."

"If you're gonna murder someone and a who innocent family, or a child, same thing needs to be done to you," death penalty supporter Sandy Shepherd said.

"Those were innocent kids," Lisa Lawson said. "[Cami] was innocent too. And what [Bennett] did, he deserves to be punished for it."

"[The] children didn't do nothing," said Gennie Ainesworth, whose granddaughter knew one of the victims. "My granddaughter cried for over two months cause she went to school with one of the children. And that's not something you should have to explain to a child. Your friend's in heaven now."

"[The children] didn't have nothing to do with it," death penalty supporter Tim Shultz said. "That's a pretty bad guy to do something like that to a family and them kids."

Since Kansas' current death penalty law enacted in 1994, there have been 85 capital cases in the state.

13 men have been sentenced to death, one sentence was removed and two sentences were vacated by the supreme court.

The nine remaining are in early appeals.

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