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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Testimony wraps up in attempted murder trial

  • An attempted murder trial should be placed in the hands of a Leavenworth County jury Wednesday.
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  • An attempted murder trial should be placed in the hands of a Leavenworth County jury Wednesday.
    Testimony in the trial of Richard T. Bennett wrapped up shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday in Leavenworth County District Court. District Judge Gunnar Sundby told jurors they would have to return Wednesday morning to wrap up the trial.
    Jurors will receive their jury instructions Wednesday morning, and attorneys will make their closing arguments before deliberations begin.
    Bennett, 27, Leavenworth, is charged with charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder for allegedly trying to kill his ex-girlfriend Lachelle M. Kemp and their then unborn child. Bennett also faces one count for allegedly making a criminal threat against Kemp. There's also less severe alternative charges that jurors will be able to consider.
    The charges stem from a June 18 incident outside of Leavenworth convenience store during which Bennett allegedly attacked Kemp with a knife. Kemp was about seven months pregnant at the time with Bennett's daughter. The child has since been born.
    Bennett is arguing he had been acting in self defense and struggled to get a knife away from Kemp.
    Kemp died Oct. 16 as the result of an accident. Her death was not the result of any injuries she suffered during the June 18 incident.
    She had testified during an Aug. 13 preliminary hearing. And a transcript of the earlier testimony was read Tuesday during the trial.
    During that earlier hearing, Kemp testified she encountered Bennett at the convenience store and he told her he had something for her. She testified that he grabbed a knife from a vehicle and attacked her. She testified that he said he was going to kill her and her baby.
    An emergency doctor testified Monday that Kemp suffered several stab wounds, most of which were considered superficial.
    Bennett testified Tuesday that Kemp had been the aggressor during the June 18 incident. He said she took his eyeglasses from his face and broke them.
    At that time, he noticed she was holding a knife and they began to struggle over the weapon, according to Bennett's testimony.
    "I was just fighting for the knife," he said.
    Bennett testified that he got the knife away from Kemp. He said she lunged at him, and this may have been how she suffered a stab wound to her abdomen.
    During cross examination, Bennett said he's a grown man and could have inflicted more severe injuries if he had wanted to attack Kemp.
    "I can cause damage if I want to," he said.
    During the cross examination, Assistant County Attorney Christopher Scott asked Bennett if other witnesses in the case had been lying.
    Page 2 of 2 - Defense attorney Clinton Lee objected.
    Sundby said the question was improper for any attorney to ask. He said it's up to the jurors determine if witnesses are telling the truth.
    After jurors had been dismissed for the day, Sundby revisited the issue. He said this was an area attorneys can't go.
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